UN: Palestinian land use around Bethlehem limited

Only 13 percent of land in the Bethlehem region remains open to use by Palestinians, drastically limiting the region's development, according to a United Nations report released Thursday. Settlements, the West Bank security barrier and IDF-controlled zones restrict the city, while cutting it off from surrounding communities and resources, the report says. "Israeli measures have radically reduced the space available to the inhabitants of Bethlehem, compromising the future economic and social development of the governate," the report says. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he had not seen the report and had no information on Palestinian access to land around Bethlehem. He also said past reports by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs contained "distorted information" and that such reports lie outside the office's mandate.