A tract of Palestinian land in the West Bank has for the first time been seized by a kibbutz located inside Israel, a prominent Israeli researcher said Saturday.
The land — about 365 acres (148 hectares) from the West Bank Palestinian village of Bardaleh — was seized by the nearby agricultural community of Kibbutz Meirav, which lies inside Israel proper, said Dror Etkes, a prominent researcher and activist against Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
For decades, Israeli authorities seized such lands for Jewish settlers inside the West Bank, but not for communities across the cease-fire lines inside Israel proper, Etkes said.
The Bardaleh lands lie on the Israeli side of a barrier that was built to keep out Palestinian attackers. But the meandering barrier — a mix of high concrete walls and fences — frequently juts into the West Bank. It has kept some Palestinian farmland on the Israeli side of the barrier, including some belonging to farmers in Bardaleh.
The kibbutz has been tending to the land for years, but only recently has Israel publicly acknowledged that it considers it its own.
The move has raised fears among some Palestinians and their supporters that the same fate may befall other tracts of West Bank land that lie on the Israeli side of the barrier.