Beita, on the banks of the Jordan River – This picturesque little town turned into a bloody battlefield with its narrow winding roads, olive trees and rocky hills, when Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces over an illegal settlement on their land.
Beita activists called on residents to fight against the continued occupation of their land on Mount Sabih by Israeli settlers, who are currently building illegally, threatening the livelihoods of at least 17 Palestinian families, more than 100 people dependent on their olive groves. land on which they had descended.
“Today we have 50 injuries from rubber bullets, 26 from live ammunition, 190 from tear gas and 27 other injuries, including beatings,” said Fawas Bitar, medical coordinator and coordinator at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) on Friday.
“Two of the injuries are serious, including a live bullet to the neck and another live bullet to the abdomen,” Bitar told Al Jazeera.
“Several ambulances were targeted by rubber bullets, two paramedics were injured by tear gas, respectively, by rubber bullets.”
Following the Palestinian activists’ call for action, problems were brewing on Friday afternoon before the end of the community prayers.
To prevent people from protesting, Israeli soldiers stopped taxis on the main road to Ramallah-Nablus and forced them to choose alternative routes.
It was necessary to travel on foot, by car, through the hills, to the ascending horizon, a chunk of smoke dripping, where clashes had broken out.
Throughout the day, young men watched by reporters at the top of the mountain played cat-and-mouse games as they tried to navigate the valley, on a dirt road lined with Israeli cars, soldiers, and climbing Mount Sabih to protest.
The two young men, who refused to be photographed for security reasons, told Al Azira that the settlers were regularly raiding Beita, cutting down olive trees, breaking property, inciting locals, and injuring many young people.
“They will not take our country until they kill us all,” Ahmed said.
Armed with tear gas canisters, Israeli drones regularly flew overhead before hovering over the young men, distributing their cargo.
Through binoculars, Alazera Azira observed Israeli soldiers firing on young men with live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas.
Ambulances rushed past to pick up the wounded, confirming the injuries of waiting reporters before transporting patients to a field hospital.
Ambulances, sometimes accompanied by columns, ran back and forth until early in the evening, when the hoarse sound finally faded.
There were so many injuries that CHCH turned the local school into an emergency field hospital, including a triage, X-rays, and intravenous drops before patients were either allowed to go home or rushed to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus for further treatment.
Mohamed Khabeisa, whose family has lived in Beita for more than five generations and lost land to the settlers, told Al Azira Azira that since the beginning of May, the Israelis have taken two hectares (five acres) of village land and moved to about 45 prefabricated houses. ,
He said the villagers had asked the Israeli authorities for proof of ownership of their land, which had been provided. However, the documents are valid for only 45 days, Khabeisa said.
“Every time we use it, it costs 80 Israeli shekels [$25] և The documents are valid for only 45 days. “So we went again about a week ago to get new documents, but we have not received a response yet,” Khabeisa said, pointing to Al-Azeri “expired” documents.
“After that we went to the Israeli police to say that we wanted to file a case against the theft of our land, but we were told that the responsible police were not there and told us to return. But every time we come back, there is another excuse why they can’t help us.
“Moreover, our lawyers told us that without new Israeli documents proving ownership of the land, they could not fight in court,” Khabeisa said.
“Occupying the land used to be gradual when Israeli troops used the country as a temporary military base in the late 1980s, saying they would only use the land for a short time. “But after that, they started laying concrete for construction, but a high-ranking military official still assured us that the land belonged to us.”
Previous Palestinian cases demanding the return of confiscated land for the construction of illegal settlements have been pending in Israeli courts for years, with only part of the land returned.
“We believe that the Israelis are delaying providing us with new proof of our ownership because they want to establish facts on the ground by seizing more land and building more houses, so that even if we win, it will eventually be impossible to restore the settlement.” said Khabeisa.
Musa Abu Mutti, who also lost land to the settlements, told Al-Azira Azira that the Palestinians were not allowed to approach their olive groves because the area had now been declared a closed military zone.
The settlers tried to seize the top of another hill belonging to Beita a few weeks ago, but violent protests by locals, during which a doctor-teacher was killed by Israeli soldiers, among dozens of other injuries, temporarily prevented the seizure by placing a flag at the Palestinian summit.
The unity of the city of Beita against the alienation of lands was evident in the organization of protests on Friday. Young boys were transporting boxes of food to the young men on the front lines as they took turns during the confrontation.
When the mother entered late that evening, a cautious silence was established over the city.
But later, around midnight, groups of men known as erbak al-layli, or “night riot units,” took up positions in various parts of the valley, setting fire to prepare to resist the settlers if they tried to enter the city.
“There have been no deaths in the last few weeks, but the real ordeal will be in September, when the olive harvest season begins. We will not be allowed to approach our orchards again,” Khabeisa said.
There are now rumors that the Israelis may call for an end to the construction of Mount Sabih, but Khabeisa said the villagers will wait and see until their hopes are raised.