Palestine's Al-Hawiya spring under threat of Israeli annexation

Palestine's Al-Hawiya spring under threat of Israeli annexation

It is feared that Israel will now usurp this place, which has touristic and historical significance

By Kays Abu Samra

BETHLEHEM (AA) - Al-Hawiya, one of the dozens of water springs in the historical Husan district of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, is facing the threat of usurpation by Israel.

Located in a valley surrounded by olive trees, among vegetable gardens, the water of the Al-Hawiya spring originates from the Husan mountains and collects in a small artificial pond.

Al-Hawiya spring and pond, with their natural beauties, are a spot that allows the residents of the town and Palestinians from different cities of the West Bank to have some fresh air and rest.

The owners of the gardens around the pond also use the spring water from the mountains for the vegetables they grow.

However, it is feared that Israel, which previously confiscated approximately 4,000 acres of land belonging to the Husan district and established the "Betar" Jewish settlement here, will now usurp this place, which has touristic and historical features.

- Israel's annexation plan

At its weekly meeting on July 17, the Israeli cabinet approved the allocation of a budget of 120 million shekels ($33 million) for three years, as part of the draft resolution presented by Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Amihai Eliyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Tourism Minister Haim Katz, aimed at "preserving antiquities in the West Bank."

In accordance with the "Second Oslo Agreement" signed between Palestine and Israel in 1995, the said areas in the West Bank are located in "Area C" under Israeli control, both administratively and security-wise.

In his speech at the weekly Council of Ministers meeting in Ramallah on July 17, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh noted that Israel is trying to turn the historical Al-Hawiya region, famous for its water resources and ponds, into a religious and touristic place for Jewish settlers.

Shtayyeh​​​​​​​ asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to protect Palestine's historical sites against "Judaization and Israeliization" plans.

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