European diplomats visit Beita over Israeli settlement plan

Nablus (QNN)- European Heads of Mission and representatives of West Bank Protection Consortium (WBPC) member states and likeminded countries on Thursday visited Beita village in Nablus in the occupied West Bank over Israeli settlement plan in the area.

The Heads of Mission and representatives from Belgium, Denmark, EU, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK visited Beita.

In a statement released by the delegation and Ireland, they said the visit took place in response to increasing concerns – across the occupied West Bank and in Beita in particular – about the rising levels of settler violence.

The visit also touched upon the worrying establishment of an illegal settlement outpost on top of Jabal Sabih, on the outskirts of the village, which is causing regular clashes between Palestinian residents, Israeli settlers and the Israeli occupation Forces, the delegation said.

According to UN OCHA, since the beginning of May, six Palestinians, including two children, have been killed around Beita as a result of live fire from Israeli forces.

During the visit, participants heard from local residents, WBPC partners, and the Colonization & Wall Resistance Commission about the developments on the ground, which often result in violent incidents as the residents live in close proximity to a settlement outpost, the delegation pointed out.

“Palestinian residents told attendees how they feared losing further land and being exposed to more settler violence. Members of the WBPC and likeminded countries also heard about the lack of effective preventative measures and sufficient protection against the perpetrators of settler violence.”

According to UN OCHA, the total number of settler attacks across the West Bank that have resulted in injury and/or property damage in 2021 has increased by 46 percent compared to the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, Yesh Din reported that 96 percent of investigations by Israeli occupation authorities into alleged acts of settler violence do not lead to the filing of an indictment.

Visiting Beita, British Consul General Diane Corner said, “We condemn any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians. We urge the Israeli authorities to address settler violence and to thoroughly investigate every incident to bring those responsible to justice and end the culture of impunity.”

Corner added, “The UK’s position on settlements is clear: They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution.”

European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff also stated via his representative, “For months, the people of Beita have been exposed to serious incidents of settler violence and the building of an illegal Israeli outpost on Mount Sabih, which risks capturing up to 30 % of Beita’s land. These developments have left many families suffering. Several Palestinians lost their lives, including two children.”

“The policy of settlement construction and expansion in occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, and Israel must protect the Palestinian population from these violent attacks.”

Beita village becomes a site of weekly protests against the Israeli occupation and settlement expansion, which are often suppressed by Israeli forces.

The occupation authorities evacuated dozens of Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Evyatar in Beita, after a deal was reached between a settler leader and the occupation government of new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Yossi Dagan, head of settler organisation the Shomron Regional Council, struck a deal with Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, and interior minister Ayelet Shaked, that will turn Evyatar into a religious school and a military base for the Israeli forces.

‘Israel’ will keep about 50 caravan houses settlers installed in May on Palestinian lands belonging to the residents of the occupied West Bank village of Beita, while settlers would “return” to the land when Israeli occupation authorities designate it as “state-owned.”

In early May, a group of Israeli settlers set up caravans on Jabal Sabih, and with the help of Israeli occupation forces have since prevented any Palestinian access to the area.

Within days, settlers installed mobile houses, built roads and raised an Israeli flag over the settlement.

Since then, Beita has witnessed several protests against the new settler outpost on Jabal Sabih, which lies on the southern outskirts of the village and comprises an estimated 30 percent of Beita’s entire land area.

The livelihoods of at least 17 Palestinian families – more than 100 people – are threatened as they depend on harvesting their olives on land they have owned for generations.

(Source / 06.08.2021)

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