Israel expands settlement, destroys West Bank houses, trees

Palestinian protesters throw stones at an Israeli military bulldozer during clashes at a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Kdumim, in the West Bank village of Kfar Kadum, near Nablus on 18 January 2013. (Photo: Reuters - Abed Omar Qusini)

Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013

While Israel headed to the polls Tuesday, settlers began expansion work on a settlement in the West Bank, encroaching on land belonging to a notable center of Palestinian resistance, local news agencies reported.

According to Ma’an news agency, members of the Halamish settlement began construction at dawn Tuesday, using trucks and bulldozers and setting up 50 mobile homes near the village of Nabi Saleh.

Israeli forces accompanied the settlers, despite such occupation of Palestinian land being illegal under international law.

Nabi Saleh is well-known for its weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation of its land and water resources. The Israeli army regularly uses live ammunition, skunk and tear gas to disperse these protests.

In the town of Idna, west of Hebron, Israel handed demolition notices for three Palestinian homes, saying they were built without permits.

South of Bethlehem, Zionist settlers opened a new road through Palestinian-owned land, destroying some 50 olive trees, a popular committee coordinator told WAFA news agency. Olive trees, a symbol of Palestine, are regularly targeted for destruction by settlers.

Meanwhile, an Israeli bulldozer worked under the protection of armored forces to set up earth mounds and dig tanks ditches in the vicinity of Abbasiyeh in Lebanon, as reconnaissance drones flew overhead, an NNA correspondent reported Tuesday.

(Al-Akhbar, WAFA)

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