Illegal Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories have set up an illegal outpost in the village of Birin, east of Hebron, in order to “expand” an illegal settlement, Wafa news agency has reported.
According to a representative of the Anti-Settlement Committee in the West Bank, Rateb Jabour, the settlers have placed a caravan on land belonging to a local Palestinian as the first step towards seizing hundreds of acres of land, despite it being owned by Palestinians who have proof of their ownership. He added that Israeli occupation forces stormed into the village and handed five residents notices ordering them to stop work on their land.
The villagers voiced their concerns that the planned land seizure is part of the wider Israeli measures designed to displace them and grab their land to make room for the expansion of the nearby illegal colonial settlement of Bani Haiver. Located to the southwest of Bani Na‘im, Birin has a population of 160 and is hemmed in by Bani Haiver to the east and the settler-only bypass Road No. 60 to the west.
According to Wafa, Birin’s residents were originally expelled from the Naqab Desert in southern occupied Palestine and now depend on agriculture and livestock as their main source of livelihood. Settlers regularly attack Palestinian property and agricultural land across the occupied territories, but they are rarely held accountable by the Israeli authorities.
Roughly 650,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal settlements built in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967. All of the settlements are in breach of international law.