Home Occupation 17/February/2023 03:56 PM

Number suffocate as Israeli forces quell anti-settlement rally south of Bethlehem

Number suffocate as Israeli forces quell anti-settlement rally south of Bethlehem
A part of the lands belonging to Tuqu that Israeli settlers plan to seize for colonial settlement construction (File photo)

BETHLEHEM, Friday, February 17, 2023 (WAFA) – A number of Palestinians Friday afternoon suffocated as Israeli forces quelled an anti-settlement rally in Tuqu‘ town, south of Bethlehem, according to a local official.

The town mayor Tayseer Abu-Mefreh said that Israeli forces forcefully dispersed a rally against the takeover of town’s land, known as Tuqu‘ wilderness, to make room for colonial settlement construction.

The soldiers showered the rally participants with volleys of tear gas canisters, causing a number to suffocate, detained a participant and threatened to seal off the town entrances.

Abu-Mefreh added that the rally was organized as Israeli settlers proceeded with the construction of a settler-only road for the construction of a new colonial outpost and that they plan to seize over 400 donums for this purpose.

Located 12 kilometers to the southeast of Bethlehem city, Tuqu‘ has a population of some 9,300 and occupies a total area of 191,262 dunams.

Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a tiny pocket of land occupying 2,991 dunams, accounting for 1.5 percent of the village’s total area.  Israel maintains control over 141,682, classified as Area C, accounting for 74.1 percent. The remaining part of 46,589 dunams, accounting for 24.4 percent, is classified as nature reserve.

Israel has established three colonial settlements, namely Tekoa, Meshoki Dargot and Mizpe Shalem on an initial area of 1,436 dunams confiscated from the village. It has confiscated further land for the construction of settlement outposts as well as settler-only by-pass Road No. 901, Road No. 3562, and Road No. 3698, which extend for 17.67 kilometers on the village land.

Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, confiscating and isolating some 4,843 dunams of fertile land for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.


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