Israel army blocks Palestinian landowners from accessing evacuated settlement site

Israeli occupation forces prevented dozens of Palestinians from Burka village in the northern West Bank from reaching the site of the evacuated settlement of Homesh, reported Haaretz, “a week after the state said it had revoked a ban on Palestinians accessing the land”.

According to the paper, “some of the Palestinians who tried to reach the area own land there.”

In 2005, settlers were removed from Homesh colony in the context of the so-called “disengagement” plan. In 2013, Israeli authorities “cancelled the order that had allowed the land to be seized”, but settler activists “have continued to visit the area for years”.

In October 2017, Israeli occupation authorities banned both Israelis and Palestinians from entering the site, and it was only last week that “the ban on Palestinian visitors to the site was lifted in response to a petition” to the Supreme Court by the landowners and NGO Yesh Din.

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On Friday, a group of Palestinians from Burka village, “including those who own land in the area”, arrived at the site holding “copies of the state’s decision”.

However, occupation forces “did not let them enter the area”, and five settlers were seen there.

“Exactly the opposite of what was decided in court is what happened,” said Mushir Sleiman Seif, a landowner from Burka.

“We were barred from entering our land while the settlers were permitted to be there.”

“We showed them [the soldiers] the court ruling but they said that this isn’t a court here,” said Saddam Sallah, a photographer from Burka. Seif said residents intend to continue marching to the site every Friday until they are allowed to enter.