Peace activists protest settlers’ attempts to retake a vacated military camp near Bethlehem
Dozens of peace activists and representatives of several factions and institutions in Bethlehem organized on Friday a protest at the location of an evacuated military camp east of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, as Israeli settlers are attempting to occupy the space and turn it into an outpost.
Since more than four weeks, dozens of extremist settlers and members of Knesset of the Mafdal and Yisrael Betenu parties broke into the site every Friday in an attempt to place the cornerstone of an illegal outpost.
The protesters, including the Mayor of Beit Sahour, Mr. Hani Al Hayek, expressed their rejection to these violations and expressed their determination to stop the settlers and their plans.
The location of the evacuated camp is approximately 1000 Dunams, it was used as a military base for the Israeli army until the army evacuated the camp nearly two years ago. The lands in questioned are originally owned by Palestinian residents.
After the camp was evacuated, several institutions including the American Development Agency started constructing vital projects on the site, including a hospital for children, a public park and other public facilities.
After the implementation of these projects was initiated, Israeli settlers carried repeated attempts to reoccupy the area which is totally surrounded by Palestinians neighborhoods. The army did not carry decisive measures to stop the settlers which encouraged them o repeat their attempt to control the area.
Palestinian residents who live near the area in question said that they fear that the settlers are planning to create an outpost which will act as the hub which links it with Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) illegal settlement, and other settlements in the area such as Efrat, Maali Amous, Tiqoua, and Nikudim.
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