Palestinian villages have paid a high price for defending their land | International News Israel-Palestinian conflict news

Beta, the occupied West Bank – This picturesque town, with narrow winding roads and steep hills dotted with olive trees and stone houses, turned into a bloody battlefield because Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops built illegal settlements on their land There is a conflict.

Beta activists call on residents to oppose Israeli settlers continue to take over their land in the Sabih Mountains. They are currently building an illegal settlement and threatening the livelihoods of at least 17 Palestinian families (more than 100 people) who depend on olive picking The land they have owned for generations.

“Today, we have 50 people injured by rubber bullets, 26 people injured by live ammunition, 190 tear gas inhalations and 27 other injuries, including beatings,” Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) paramedic and coordinator Favas Beta said Friday.

Betar told Al Jazeera: “Two of the injuries were serious, including one live ammunition shot into the neck and the other live ammunition shot into the abdomen.

“Several ambulances were hit by rubber bullets, and two paramedics were injured by inhaling tear gas and rubber bullets.”

After Palestinian militants called for action, and before the end of public prayers on Friday afternoon, trouble was already brewing.

To prevent people from reaching the protest site, Israeli soldiers stopped taxis on the main road between Ramallah and Nablus and forced them to take other routes.

This requires walking and a private car around the mountain, towards the direction of the billowing smoke on the horizon where the conflict erupted.

During Beta’s protest against Israeli settlements, medical staff tended to an injured Palestinian man [File: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

Throughout the day, reporters observed from the top of the mountain that a group of young people were playing a game of cat and mouse. They tried to move down the valley, through a dirt road where Israeli vehicles and soldiers were stationed, and then ascended to Sabi Mountain. Go to reconciliation to protest.

Two young men with black hands who refused to be photographed for security reasons told Al Jazeera that settlers regularly attack Beta-cutting down olive trees, destroying property and angering locals-and have harmed many young people.

“They will not occupy our land until they kill all of us,” Ahmed said.

Israeli drones equipped with tear gas cans flew overhead regularly, then hovered over these young people and distributed their cargo.

Through binoculars, Al Jazeera observed that Israeli soldiers fired at these young men with live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.

The ambulance rushed to pick up the wounded, confirmed that the waiting reporter was injured, and then transferred the patient to the field hospital.

Ambulances sometimes drove in convoys, running back and forth until the evening when the screaming sirens finally disappeared.

There were so many injuries that before the patient was released home or sent to the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus for further treatment, PRCS turned a local school into a field hospital for emergency treatment, including triage, X-ray Check and intravenous drip.

Palestinian demonstrators reacted to tear gas fired by Israeli forces on Friday [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

Muhammad Khabeisa-his family has lived in Beta for more than five generations and has lost the land of settlers-told Al Jazeera that the Israelis have occupied 2 hectares (5 hectares) since the beginning of May. Acres) of village land and moved into about 45 prefabricated houses.

He said that the villagers asked the Israeli authorities to provide documents proving their land ownership and provided these documents. However, Khabeisa pointed out that the validity period of these documents is only 45 days.

“Every time we apply for it, it costs 80 Israeli shekels [$25] And the validity period of these documents is only 45 days. So we applied for new documents again about a week ago, but we have not received any response,” Khabeisa said when showing the “expired” documents to Al Jazeera.

“Then we went to the Israeli police and said that we wanted to file a lawsuit against the theft of our land, but we were told that the responsible policeman was not there and we were told to come back again. But every time we came back, we had another excuse to explain why. They cannot help us.

“Furthermore, our lawyers told us that if there are no new Israeli documents showing land ownership, they cannot defend themselves in court,” Khabeisa said.

“Before the takeover of the land was gradual. Israeli soldiers used this land as a temporary military base in the late 1980s, saying that they would only use this land for a short period of time. However, later they started laying concrete for construction, but a senior military officer Still assure us that the land belongs to us.”

Israeli soldiers help build illegal settlements on Sabi Mountain [Al Jazeera]

Previous cases of Palestinians requesting the return of land expropriated for illegal settlement construction took years to be heard by Israeli courts, and only a small part of the land was returned.

“We believe that the Israelis are delaying providing us with new evidence of our ownership because they want to establish facts on the ground by occupying more land and building more houses so that even if we eventually win, it is impossible to reverse the established settlements. “Habesa said.

Musa Abu Muti, who also lost the settlement land, told Al Jazeera that since the area has now been declared a military restricted zone, Palestinians are not allowed to approach their olive groves.

A few weeks ago, settlers tried to take over another mountaintop belonging to Beta, but the strong protest from the locals-during this period, a doctor and a teacher were killed by Israeli soldiers and dozens of others were injured-temporarily prevented Palestinian takeover. A flag was raised at its peak.

The unity of Beita Town in the face of land expropriation was vividly demonstrated in the protests organized on Friday, in which young boys transported water tanks and food cooked by Beta women to front-line youths who worked in shifts during the confrontation.

When the sun sets in the evening, the town is cautiously quiet.

But then, near midnight, a group of people known as erbak al-layli—or “Night Chaos Troops”—occupied positions in different locations in the valley, lit a fire, and prepared to fight with them when they tried to enter the town. Confrontation.

“So far, there have been no deaths in the past few weeks, but the real test will be when the olive picking season begins in September, when we will again be prevented from approaching our orchard,” Khabeisa said.

There are now reports that the Israelis may demand a cessation of construction on the Sabih Mountain, but Habesa said that the villagers will wait and see before they can hope.

Palestinian demonstrators perform Friday prayers at Beta in the Israeli-occupied West Bank [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

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About the Author: Agnes Zang