Settlements and the Separation Wall
Al Ma’sara is one of 9 intertwined villages that are surrounded by the illegal Israeli settlement Efrata, part of the Gush Etzion settlement block.
The 9000 Palestinian inhabitants of the nine villages are enclosed by almost as many illegal settlers. In Al-Ma’sara area the preparation of the infrastructure for the illegal apartheid wall started in 2006. The plans however were changed in 2009 with the result that the people in Al Ma’sara will lose yet more of their land. So far only the infrastructure has been completed, so the villagers live in constant fear and uncertainty of when the Wall will be build. In this region the separation wall will not be an actual wall as opposed to the wall in Bethlehem, but a 14km electrical fence with armed support and military guard.
Impact of the settlements and the construction of the Wall
Land confiscation: The Wall will annex an additional 3500 dunums (35.000 square meters) once completed. As of now (2011) Al Ma’sara and the eight surrounding villages are prevented from accessing more than half of their land. This also cuts off the main water supply, negatively impacting health and income of the villagers.
Isolation: The location of Al-Ma’sara and the eight surrounding villages is particularly significant as they lie between Hebron and Bethlehem. This means that extending the wall through the villages would completely separate the two cities, further crushing any hope for the survival or autonomy of the proposed Palestinian state. The connection of these settlements will effectively isolate Al-Ma’sara and its eight neighboring villages from the rest of the Palestinian communities.
House demolitions: 90% of the houses in Al-Ma’sara are situated in area C and therefore face the constant risk of their houses being demolished. Area C contains the highest number of illegal settlements, and as such is under complete Israeli military control. It is extremely hard for the Palestinians to obtain building permits in the area; in the meantime the settlements continue to grow rapidly. As a result many of the Palestinian houses are built illegally according to the Israeli law, and can be demolished by the Israeli Military at anytime.