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Bethlehem: illegal Israeli settlers set up tents on Palestinian farmland

May 29, 2024 at 2:52 pm

A settler stands guard at the checkpoint entrance to Mitzpe Yair, an Israeli settlement that sits close to the town of Susya, Occupied West Bank, November 9, 2023 [Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]

Israeli settlers today set up tents on Palestinian farmland in the village of Artas, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, Wafa news agency has reported.

According to the head of the village council, Lutfi Asaad, a group of Israeli settlers set up two tents in the Jabal Abu Zeid and Khallet Al-Qatun areas to facilitate the expansion of the illegal settlement of Efrat. Asaad added that attacks by settlers, under the protection of occupation forces, have intensified since 7 October. The most recent incidents occurred in the same areas, where a group of Israeli settlers attacked farmers while they were tending to their own land.

The latest incident follows the demolition of a four-storey building in the Atan area by Israeli bulldozers a week ago. Wafa said that the building was owned by local Palestinian resident Yousef Al-Atrash from Al-Walaja, and was built over 20 years ago but was destroyed on the grounds that it “lacked a permit”.

All of Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and the settlers who live in them are illegal under international law. They are also seen as an impediment to the internationally agreed two-state solution.

There are an estimated 800,000 illegal settlers living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the Occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. In parallel with the devastating Israeli military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, extremist Jewish settlers have escalated their attacks in the occupied West Bank.

Some 506 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied Palestinian territories, excluding Gaza, since 7 October. More than 5,000 have been wounded, and 8,775 have been detained by the Israeli occupation forces, according to official Palestinian data.

READ: Palestinian minister calls on US to press Israel to open Rafah Crossing