RAMALLAH, West Bank – Israeli soldiers and border guards Saturday removed tents Palestinians had set up in an area south of Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, to protest Israeli plans to take over the land.
The tent village named Canaan is the fifth that activists have set up in the last month on land they fear Israel intends to seize to build settlements. Israel has foiled each attempt.
Mazen Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian activist at the Canaan village, said between 15 and 20 Palestinian and international activists made two attempts to set up the tents there.
Early in the morning, he said, they put up three tents, which were quickly seized by Israeli soldiers; two hours later, the activists returned to a nearby plot and set up one tent.
The army brought reinforcements to the area, declared it a closed military zone after setting up checkpoints on roads leading to it, and then pushed the activists away, Qumsiyeh said, after spraying stinky water that made it impossible to stay in the tent.
“It is our natural right to develop, reclaim, improve, use, and live on all our lands free and without threats from the occupiers,” he said.
He said the activity was intended to help area villagers to cultivate and reclaim their agricultural land.
The previous tent village protests took place in areas east and north of Jerusalem, and areas near Jenin and Nablus.