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Israeli settlers raid park south of Hebron under armed guard

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Ma’an – September 30, 2015

Dozens of Israeli settlers raided a park and ancient pool in the Palestinian town of al-Karmil in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, under the armed protection of Israeli forces, witnesses said.

The park, part of the Yatta Municipality in the south Hebron hills, lies in Area A, under full Palestinian jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords.

Buses carrying the settlers arrived to the park escorted by large numbers of Israeli forces and military vehicles, locals said.

Settlers came from the nearby settlements of Maon, Karmel, Beit Yatir, Susya, and the outposts of Havat Yair, Mitzpe Yair, Havat Maon, and Avigal, in order to “perform religious rituals” for several hours, they added.

The mayor of Yatta, Moussa Makhamreh, condemned the raid, pointing to the “dangerous nature of Israeli authorities’ and settlers’ racist actions taken under armed security.”

Makhamreh called upon local governance to support and protect the park in order to end frequent violations by Israeli settlers in the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.

The park was created in 2011 by the Palestinian Yatta municipality, which renovated an ancient pool located at the site.

Settlers have come to the area in the past through the initiative of the Susiya Tour and Study Center which describes the pool as the historical site of the Biblical settlement of Carmel, according to rights group B’Tselem. Such visits are generally approved by and coordinated with Israeli authorities.

In April, Israeli soldiers expelled Palestinians from the pool in order to allow settlers to swim and have exclusive use of the park.

Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem.

The presence of settlements in the area, considered illegal under international law, comes at the expense of Palestinian residents’ ability to build homes and infrastructure, or live unimpeded by constant and often violent interruption from Israeli forces and settlers.

September 30, 2015 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Illegal Occupation | , , , ,

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