BETHLEHEM, Thursday, May 5, 2022 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers today seized a large tract of land belonging to the villagers of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem city, according to a local official.
The town mayor, Ibrahim Mousa, said that a group of settlers descended upon Az-Zayah, which covers an area of 60 donums of the villagers’ land flanked by the colonial settlement of Neve Daniyyel and outpost of Sede Boaz.
The landowners attempted to repel the settler takeover of their land, but were attacked by gun-toting Israeli soldiers, with two landowners, both in their 60s, injured as a result.
Mousa added that the settlers have set up a canopy at the site as a prelude for the establishment of a colonial outpost, a move which entails the confiscation of larger tract of land for settlement construction.
Earlier today, settlers grazed their livestock on 15 donums of privately-owned Palestinian land planted with olive saplings and chickpeas, located west of the town.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Settler violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.
Over 700,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only colonial settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.
The number of settlers has almost tripled since the Oslo Accords of 1993, when settlers’ number estimated 252,000. Illegal colonial settlements have leapt from 144 to over 515 in that time.
Israel’s nation-state law that passed last July stated that building and strengthening colonial settlements as a “national interest.”