Palestinians Report 10 Wounded by Live Israeli Fire Near Site of Evacuated Settlement Outpost

Jack Khoury
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A Palestinian protester returns a tear gas canister toward Israeli forces during clashes near Beita, in the West Bank, on Friday.
A Palestinian protester returns a tear gas canister toward Israeli forces during clashes near Beita, in the West Bank, on Friday.Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP
Jack Khoury

Ten Palestinians were wounded Friday by live fire during clashes with the Israeli military near the site of an evacuated illegal settlement outpost, the Palestinian Red Cross reported. Their condition was not immediately clear.

The medical emergency organization said 15 others were wounded by rubber-tipped bullets near the village of Beita, south of Nablus. More than 45 people required medical attention after being tear-gassed.

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Tensions in this part of the West Bank have been running high over the past weeks over the evacuation of the Evyatar outpost in early July. Under a deal between settlers and Israeli authorities, most of the outpost's structures were allowed to remain there, prompting concerns by Palestinians that it may be allowed to be repopulated.

Two weeks ago, a 20-year-old Palestinian, Farid Ali Hassan, was killed by Israeli army fire following clashes between residents of the nearby village of Qusra and Israeli settlers.

An Israeli military spokesperson said that soldiers who had been trying to quell the confrontation saw a man throw an explosive device at them from a rooftop and "responded with fire against the suspect in order to eliminate the danger," the spokesperson said.

Palestinians from the villages near Eyatar have petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice to revoke the state’s compromise that gives the settlers a chance to return in the future. Under the deal, the outpost’s structures are to remain intact and the settlers may return if the land is deemed state-owned.

The 12 petitioners are demanding that the structures be removed. They also want the military “seizure order” in the area to be lifted, and that an investigation be opened against the officials and entities that allegedly helped establish the outpost – the defense minister, Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank and the Shomron Regional Council.

The petitioners say they hold the rights to the land on which the outpost’s buildings and infrastructure have been built.

About two-thirds of the West Bank’s land is not registered in any land registry, as the registry process has been halted by the Israeli occupation. Instead, there are property-tax books that the Ottoman and British authorities used for collecting taxes.

Israel, however, does not recognize the tax books as proof of land ownership; instead, it demands proof that the land was cultivated by its alleged owners.

The petitioners have aerial photographs from the '80s showing that the land at Evyatar was cultivated for farming. Later, to set up a base there, the army issued a seizure order that stopped Palestinians from working their land.

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