SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities razed Palestinian lands in the village of Burqin in the western part of the occupied West Bank district of Salfit on Thursday in order to expand an illegal industrial zone constructed for surrounding Israeli settlements.
Burqin’s mayor told Ma’an that several Israeli bulldozers razed some 20 dunams (five acres) of land in the Khillet al-Zaafaran area of the village in order to expand the Ariel Industrial Zone, part of the illegal Israeli settlement bloc of Ariel, comprising of one of the largest settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
He added that locals arrived to the area in an attempt to prevent the bulldozers from continuing to raze the land, pointing out that locals had previously received an order from the Israeli liaison that 72 dunams (18 acres) of land would be razed and confiscated for the surrounding Israeli settlements.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an she would look into reports.
According to Bethlehem-based the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), at least 17 illegal Israeli settlements and four Israeli industrial zones have been constructed on Palestinian lands in Salfit.
As of last year, ARIJ reported that 700 hectares (1,730 acres) of land in Salfit have been confiscated for the construction of Israeli bypass roads -- roads which connect Israel’s illegal settlements to Jerusalem and Israel -- and agricultural roads, including a new bypass road currently being built to connect the Ariel settlement to Road 60 cutting through the Palestinian district of Nablus and into Jerusalem.