A group of Jewish settlers has stormed a village near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank with the aim of constructing an illegal settlement outpost.
The group entered the village of Tuqu’, east of Bethlehem, yesterday under the protection of the Israeli army, and set up a mobile home, a tactic used regularly to establish illegal Israeli outposts on land across the occupied Palestinian territories.
— IMEMC News (@imemcnews) February 5, 2019
According to the head of the Bethlehem office of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Commission, Hassan Breijieh, the settlers “stormed a 200-dunam tract of land [around 50 acres], located to the east of the village [Tuqu’].”
Speaking to Wafa, he added that,
“Palestinian landowners fended off the settlers’ attempt to seize their land and produced their title deeds.”
— Ma'an News Agency (@MaanNewsAgency) January 11, 2019
Tuqu’ has been targeted repeatedly by Israel in recent weeks. Last week, three Palestinian students were injured by live ammunition after Israeli forces stormed the village and surrounded the local high school. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society confirmed that its medical crew had transferred three people suffering from wounds to the abdomen, pelvis, and leg to the nearby Beit Jala Hospital, Ma’an reported. Two of the three students were in a critical condition, added the Red Crescent.
Earlier in January, the Israeli army distributed leaflets threatening the residents of Tuqu’ with collective punishment. The army claimed that illegal Jewish settlers’ vehicles are “repeatedly attacked with rocks.” The leaflet threatened the withdrawal of Israeli entry permits for anyone found to be involved. Soldiers stormed Tuqu’ in order to distribute the leaflets; a video on the Ma’an website shows them attaching posters to buildings and doors within the village.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 31, 2019
Just two days earlier, 50 illegal settlers had attacked Tuqu’ and thrown rocks at Palestinian vehicles. Though nobody appears to have been injured, the attack caused severe material damage and, like most cases of settler violence against Palestinians, was not investigated by the Israeli authorities.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)