More than 140 Palestinians were hurt yesterday in clashes with Israeli troops in the flashpoint West Bank village of Beita, medics said, during protests against an illegal Israeli settlement outpost.
The Israeli army said two soldiers were also “lightly injured” in the violence.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Beita, located in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to protest against the nearby outpost of Eviatar, an AFP correspondent said.
The area has seen regular demonstrations against settlement expansion on Palestinian land. The Israeli army said that “over the last several hours, a riot was instigated in the area of Givat Eviatar outpost, south of Nablus”.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 146 Palestinians were hurt during the clashes, including nine by live fire, 34 by rubber-coated bullets and 87 by tear gas. Jewish settlers set up the Eviatar outpost in early May, building rudimentary concrete homes and shacks in a matter of weeks.
The construction came in defiance of both international and Israeli law, and sparked fierce protests from Palestinians who insisted it was being built on their land. But following a deal struck with nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government, the settlers left the outpost on July 2, while the structures they had built were to remain under army guard.
Israel’s defence ministry said it would study the area to assess whether it could, under Israeli law, be declared state land. Should that happen, Israel could then authorise a religious school to be built at Eviatar, with residences for its staff and students. Around 475,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967.
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