RAMALLAH, Palestine, Jan 14 (NNN-WAFA) – A senior Palestinian official, accused Israel of hindering the construction of industrial zones in the West Bank, through land confiscation, aimed at settlement expansion.
Israeli authorities are putting obstacles in the way of establishing the “Tarqumia industrial zone,” in the south of the West Bank, Palestinian Minister of Economy, Khaled al-Osaily, said.
The Palestinian government is pressing ahead with its plan for economic disengagement from Israel, by building several industrial zones throughout the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority currently is providing a bundle of tax incentives, including VAT exemptions and enacting investor-friendly laws for investors, to encourage projects in the industrial zones in the West Bank.
The Palestinian minister also slammed Israeli plan, to build an industrial zone on the Palestinian land of Shufa village, near Tulkarem city, north of the West Bank.
“This is unacceptable and illegal and is being imposed by force, so we will not accept it,” he said.
Fozat Drooby, head of Shufa village council, said, Israeli authorities informed the village council, of its decision to confiscate large areas of agricultural lands, to build an industrial zone on it.
The land owners were given 60 days to object to the decision, Dooby added.
The villagers presented their land ownership documents, through the Palestinian Authority and non-governmental organisations that provide legal aid, he noted.
Around 3,000 Palestinians live in Shufa village, which spreads over an area of 11 square km. If the decision goes through, the village will only have 0.7 square km of area left, according to Drooby, who explained that, the entire village falls within Area C of the West Bank.
Area C takes up more than 60 percent of the 5,655-square-km West Bank.
Under the Oslo Accords, signed between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel in the 1990’s, the West Bank was divided into three areas: Area A under Palestinian control, Area B under joint Palestinian-Israeli control, and Area C under full Israeli control.
Last week, Israeli Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett said, Israel plans to accommodate one million settlers in the West Bank within 10 years.– NNN-WAFA