Ma'an News Agency, Dec. 21, 2016
JERUSALEM -- Israeli authorities plan to relocate a permanent Israeli military checkpoint between the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem and Jerusalem a few kilometers further into Palestinian territory, a move which would deprive Palestinian residents access to hundreds of acres of private Palestinian land, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
[...] Rights groups have pointed out that the decision is part of a larger plan to deny Palestinians access to a natural spring in al-Walaja, known as Ain al-Haniyeh. The spring is near land that has been planned as a visitors’ center for an Israeli national park expected to consume large tracts of Palestinian land in al-Walaja [....]
Residents of al-Walaja have lost over three-quarters of their land since Israel was established in 1948, when most of the village’s residents became refugees. During Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, 50 percent of al-Walaja’s lands were annexed to the Jerusalem municipality.
Israel’s separation wall will encircle al-Walaja upon completion, and swathes of land have been appropriated by the Israeli government for the construction and expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements of Gilo, Har Gilo, and Givat Yael, while Israel’s checkpoints and separation wall has left a single entrance to al-Walaja connecting it to the rest of the West Bank.
The village’s council head Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Tin said during a press briefing in May that “If and when the wall is completed, it will turn the village into a prison.”