UNITED NATIONS - Israeli measures have reduced the amount of land available in Bethlehem for Palestinian use, limited the areas access to resources and restricted its potential for development, the UN says in a new report. The report, Shrinking Space: Urban Contraction and Rural Fragmentation in the Bethlehem Governorate, examines how Israeli measures - such as the barrier, settlements and closures - have impacted Palestinian livelihoods, development and residential expansion in Bethlehem, which comprises approximately 660 kilometres. The space available to the Palestinian population in the Bethlehem governorate has been significantly constricted by Israeli measures such as the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and their outposts, states the report issued by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These measures have reduced Bethlehems development space, limited its access to resources, severed Bethlehems historic links to Jerusalem and restricted the urban areas potential for residential and industrial expansion, it adds. The report notes that the traditional mainstays of the Bethlehem economy such as work in Israel, tourism, agriculture herding and the private sector have been undermined. Only 13pc of land in Bethlehem is available for Palestinian use, and much of it is fragmented, the report shows. In addition, Israel retains security control and jurisdiction over building and planning in 66pc of the governorate. Also, the barrier route in Bethlehem reaches 10km into the West Bank. If completed, it will cut off some of the most fertile cultivated land in the governorate as well as 21,000 Palestinian villagers from the urban centre, according to the report. As of now, the report says, around 175,000 Palestinians live in the Bethlehem governorate. Since 1967, some 86,000 Israelis have also been settled there, and they live in 19 settlements and 16 settlement outposts. OCHA also outlines steps that can be taken to prevent further deterioration, including halting construction of the barrier inside the West Bank, opening closed military areas and nature reserves for sustainable Palestinian development, and freezing settlement construction. AFP adds: Dozens of Palestinian and foreign activists sporting protective face masks demonstrated on Friday against the occupation flu from Israel they said was worse than swine flu. The demonstrators gathered in the occupied West Bank village of Bilin brandished banners that read: Put an end to occupation flu. The world today is extremely interested in swine flu because it has killed people but it has forgotten that what we suffer from is worse, one of the protesters, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh told AFP. We are trying to draw the worlds attention to a virus that is much more dangerous than swine flu, the virus of the Israeli occupation that has caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinians. Activists gather regularly at Bilin and nearby Nilin to protest against Israels West Bank separation barrier. Israel says the projected 723km of steel and concrete walls, fences and barbed wire is needed for security. The Palestinians view it as a land grab that undermines their promised state. To date, Israel has built 57pc of the projected barrier, most of it inside the occupied West Bank.