Dozens of Palestinians undermined attempts by Israeli Jewish settlers on Monday to steal agricultural land in Salfit, in the north of the occupied West Bank, Anadolu has reported. The Palestinians set fire to the equipment being used by the settlers to steal the land, before Israeli occupation forces arrived to protect the thieves.
According to the Head of Salfit Municipality Abdul Karim Zubaidi, the Palestinians protested against the theft and destruction of 12 acres of their farmland. The protesters were alerted to the settlers' move by the PLO and municipality officials.
"This is private land owned by Palestinian farmers who use it," Zubaidi told Anadolu. "It is not state-owned land as they claim. The settlers are working to impose a new status quo in this area in order to connect the industrial settlement of Ariel in the west with the residential one in the south."
Action against the theft of the land will continue until the settlement plans are thwarted and the settlers have given up, he added.
Israeli rights group Peace Now has revealed that the Israeli occupation government is planning to "legalise" the settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
Sources in occupied Palestine and Israel say that there are about 650,000 Jewish settlers living in 164 settlements and 124 settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. All of Israel's settlements are illegal under international law.