JENIN (In Palestine Today) – The Israeli occupation authorities today ordered a halt on the maintenance of the road of Umm Ar-Rihan village, west of the northern West Bank district of Jenin, according to an official.
Member of Umm al-Rihan Village Council, Bilal Zaid, told WAFA that staff of the Israeli Nature Protection Authority handed the council a notification to stop the maintenance of the road, which leads to al-Butmeh neighborhood of the village.
He noted that the maintenance works for the road were stopped although paving the base course layer does not contradict with nature preservation laws.
Located some five kilometers to the northeast of Barta‘a Ash-Sharqiya village, Umm Ar-Rihan is one of the seven village forming the Barta‘a enclave and has a population of some 500.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given full control over a tiny pocket of land accounting for 6.6 percent of the village area, classified as Area A, and full control over 25.8 percent, classified as Area B. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.
The Israeli occupation authorities have seized large tracts of land and uprooted thousands of fruit trees from the village and nearby villages for the construction of four Israeli colonial settlements, located within its boundaries, including the Shaked and Hinnanit settlements.
Designating an area as a nature reserve may convey the impression that Israel wishes to protest the environment. In practice, however, Israeli has been using such designations for advancing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.