Qusra, Occupied West Bank – Dozens of residents of Qusra were tear gassed by Israeli occupation forces (also known as Israeli Defense Forces or IDF), on Tuesday, March 29, as they were prevented from reaching their lands that the IDF seized months ago for colony settlements.
For years, the Palestinian town of Qusra and the Nablus Governorate itself, has become systematically encircled by Israeli settlements, leading to state sanctioned settler violence against the Palestinians. Recently, the occupying forces of the IDF confiscated an estimated 300 dunums of Palestinian land that was planted with olive and almond trees in the eastern region of the town of Qusra. One dunum equals 1,000 square meters or 1/4 of an acre.
In a demonstration on March 29, IDF fired tear gas canisters at the citizens expelled from their land, causing a number of them to suffer health problems. Unicorn Riot spoke with Mohamed Abu Thabet at the demo. Thabet said the settlers were seizing the land “by force” and the IDF was protecting the settlers. He said the colonists were stealing dunums “everywhere, not in Qusra alone.”
“The settlers are trying to seize the land by force, and as you can see, the Israeli occupation army protects the settlers who are thugs, who are present in all settlements to install the settlers’ flocks, and to build housing units for them, as happened here in the Migdalim settlement, from expansion and new construction works, and thus the settlement steals from the Palestinian dunums Everywhere, not in Qusra alone.”
Thabet stressed that the occupation authorities bulldozed areas of Qusra and installed electricity poles in them to expand the Migdalim settlement, which is built on the town’s lands.
“The Israeli government, this extremist government, which called on the settlers to build settlements, strengthen their steadfastness, establish them on the ground, and protect them by the Israeli occupation army, which is ruthless to the citizen who came to carry out its peaceful mission, by rejecting these outposts and refusing settlement expansion, on the interest of the citizens’ lands that they have owned for hundreds of years, They cut down olive trees and planted electricity poles, but the strength of the people and youth of the town of Qusra, removed these poles because they are secure in their right to this land.“
Mohamed Abu Thabet (translated from Arabic)
After the 1967 war, Qusra came under Israeli occupation. Following the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1995, 50% of the village’s land was defined as Area B, while the remaining 50% was in Area C. Palestinians living under the control of Israeli occupying forces in Area C, are most at risk of violence and dispossession by new settlements.
The occupation forces in December 2014, confiscated 177 dunums of village lands (17,700 sq. meters) in order to build the settlement of Migdalim. The Israelis then used bulldozers to demolish more than 400 square meters of traditional stone walls in the village near Migdalim, and today they’re seizing more Palestinian lands to benefit the settlements.