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Israeli settlers raid lands in Bethlehem, spray "Death to Arabs" on Palestinian property

June 29, 2016 10:23 P.M. (Updated: June 30, 2016 2:56 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers from the illegal Betar Illit settlement raided Palestinian lands in the village of Wadi Fukin in the central occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Tuesday, according to local witnesses.

Ahmad Sukkar, the head of the Wadi Fukin village council, told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers raided agricultural lands in the al-Fuwwar area of the village, destroying two greenhouses and tearing up plants belonging to local residents Maher Sukkar, Jamil Assaf, and Muhammad Manasra.

Sukkar added that the Israeli settlers uprooted the plants of Muhammad Saleh Manasra and Naim Daoud Attiyeh, before spray-painting “Death to Arabs” on their property.

Israeli settlers from the illegal Betar Illit settlement, which has been built on private Palestinian lands belonging to the villages of Husan, Nahalin, and Wadi Fukin, commonly raid the communities and destroy Palestinian property.

Betar Illit is one of several settlements that comprise what Israel refers to as the “Gush Etzion” settlement bloc, which Israel plans to illegally annex into its territory according to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ).

According to ARIJ, Israel’s plans of incorporating the Gush Etzion settlement bloc into the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem -- boundaries that Israel continuously redefines in order to annex land further into Palestinian territory -- parallels with Israel's objectives of reshaping the demographics of the city by lowering the Palestinian population to 20 percent, and filling in the rest with Jewish Israelis.

Local Palestinians often attribute settler attacks on Palestinian communities -- 51 of which have been reported since the start of this year, according to UN documentation -- to Israel’s larger goals of depopulating Palestinian villages near settlements by scaring Palestinians into leaving their lands in an attempt to make room for the expansion or connection of the illegal settlement blocs.

While the Israeli government does not make Israeli settler population statistics public, most rights groups agree that some 500,000 to 600,000 settlers reside in Israeli settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- all of which are considered illegal under international law.

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