Middle East Monitor / March 15, 2022
Jewish settlers attempting to confiscate land from Battir village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, last week, were successfully expelled by Palestinian activists.
According to local activist, Ghassan Eliyan, the settlers sneaked in at midnight and destroyed a 40-metre-long tent and several water tanks to intimidate the Palestinian villagers, before trying to steal their land.
However, Palestinian activists and landowners operated a night-long surveillance at the 23 dunum (5.6) plot of land, which the settlers have repeatedly attempted to steal.
The majority of the land in Battir was declared by Israel as Area C, and has long been the target of Jewish settlement expansion.
The village is located in the centre of a corridor of Israeli settlements that run from lands south of Bethlehem up to occupied East Jerusalem.
The attack comes a week after Israeli settlers set up a new illegal outpost in the village, sparking concern amongst the locals at the time, who feared the outpost would lead to further confiscation of their land.
Battir’s residents say that if the new outpost remains, it poses a major threat to the ecological and agricultural landscape of the southern Bethlehem area.
Area C takes up 61 per cent of the area of the occupied West Bank. Israel will not allow the building of any Palestinian facilities there, or the cultivation of any land, without a license from the occupation authorities, none of which are ever issued.