What occupation looks like for Rashida Tlaib’s village in the West Bank

Israeli soldiers guard at the 'Bell' Checkpoint, on road 443 near Beit Horon, on January 6, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers guard at the ‘Bell’ Checkpoint, on road 443 near Beit Horon, Jan 6, 2019. (photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)
Forty years of land grabs, settlement expansion, and the building of a highway that is off limits to Palestinians. This is what is happening to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s village.

By Dror Etkes | +972 Magazine | Aug 18, 2019

It is true that Beit Ur al-Fauqa does not suffer the worst consequences of Israel’s occupation and its land grabbing enterprise. In many ways, it’s just “another village” — and that’s bad enough.

The West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa made headlines over the weekend, after Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib announced she would not accept Israel’s offer for a “humanitarian visit” to see family, and particularly her aging grandmother.

Beyond Tlaib’s personal story, however, is the story of a village that has seen decades of land grabs for the purpose of Israeli settlement expansion and the construction of a bypass road, which Palestinian residents of the West Bank have been banned from using for nearly two decades.

Beit Ur al-Fauqa is a relatively small Palestinian village located approximately nine kilometers west of Ramallah and seven kilometers east of the Green Line. According to the 2017 Palestinian census, the village has 1,049 inhabitants. A British land ownership survey, conducted during the years of the Mandate, shows the village land is comprised of 943 acres.

As a result of the Oslo Accords, 101 of those acres became part of Area B, under Palestinian civil administration and full Israeli military control. Another 3.5 acres of land were included in the village’s Israeli-approved master plan from 1992, granting it a total of 104.5 acres — 11 percent of the village’s total land — available for Palestinian construction.

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