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Israeli settlers erect tent outside of Palestinian village

Nov. 22, 2013 9:37 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2013 3:36 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers set up a tent near the entrance of a Palestinian village east of Bethlehem late Thursday, locals told Ma'an.

Dozens of settlers from the settlement of Teqoa, while under the guard of Israeli soldiers, set up a tent near the western entrance of Tuqu village, witnesses said.

The settlers reportedly claimed to be protesting against Palestinians throwing rocks at their vehicles in the area.

Raising Israeli flags around the tent, the settlers brought chairs and beds inside it, locals said.

Palestinian activists removed a similar tent in the same area last week.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene "just to maintain order."

She said that the soldiers asked the settlers to remove the tent.

"They're taking it apart as we speak," she said.

In 2012, there were 353 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Over 7,500 olive trees were damaged or destroyed by settlers between January and mid-October in 2012, according to OCHA.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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