- Title: Lasers and bonfires light up battle over new Israeli settlement
- Date: 24th June 2021
- Summary: BEITA, WEST BANK (JUNE 22, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PALESTINIANS MEN CARRYING TORCHES MARCHING THROUGH HILLS SIDE OF THE HILL ON FIRE, LASER BEAMS IN THE SCENE MEN CHANTING AND RAISING THEIR PHONE FLASHLIGHTS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MASKED MAN TALKING ABOUT THEIR NIGHT ACTIVITY IN BEITA SAYING: "We are the night disrupting unit, our aim is to dismantle this settlement, now during the day, the unit for tyres is usually situated in the other area, and at night we come and burn tyres here like you see, to send the settlers a message that they do not own any of this land, this is our fifth time here, not the first time, we have evicted them four times and this is the fifth, and soon we will push them into the trashes of history." MAN USING FIREWORKS VARIOUS OF PALESTINIANS USING LASER BEAMS TO POINT AT ISRAELI OUTPOST (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 40 YEAR OLD RESIDENT, DIYA'A BANI SHAMSA, SAYING: "This is inspired by what used to happen in Gaza, the night disruptions, you can say that the people think alike, but we adapted parts of it, not all activities were taken, there are no flying fires (arson balloons) but the activities the youth are able to do." BLACK CLOUD OF SMOKE AS PALESTINIANS SET TYRES ON FIRE MASKED MAN MOVING TYRE TO FIRE TYRES IN FIRE MASKED MAN THROWING TYRE INTO FIRE SMOKE RISING GIVAT EVIATAR OUTPOST, WEST BANK (JUNE 23, 2021) (REUTERS) DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING TYRES SET ON FIRE, CLOUDS OF BLACK SMOKE MOVING TOWARDS ISRAELI OUTPOST (MUTE) DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING ISRAELI FLAG AT OUTPOST, BLACK SMOKE (MUTE) ISRAELI SETTLERS AT OUTPOST SIGN READING IN (Hebrew): 'ERECTING NEW COMMUNITY' SETTLERS AT OUTPOST ISRAELI FLAG, PALESTINIAN FLAG SEEN PAINTED AT NEARBY HILL PALESTINIAN VILLAGE AS SEEN FROM ISRAELI OUTPOST ISRAELI FLAG, POSTER OF SETTLER KILLED IN CONFLICT VARIOUS OF SETTLERS PRAYING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI SETTLER LIVING IN EVYATAR OUTPOST, ELI SHAPIRA,30, SAYING: "They wont drive us away from here because again this is our homeland, this is our forefathers land. We love the land we want to be here, we know they come out of hate, they hate us they hate the land, they hate everything. Ok it is fine if they want to hate they won't stay here they wont survive here anyone who comes out of hate, we come out of love." VARIOUS IF SETTLERS ERECTING NEW STRUCTURE CLOUD OF BLACK SMOKE AROUND OUTPOST SETTLERS AT SCENE BABY IN CARRIAGE (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) HEAD OF THE SHOMRON REGIONAL COUNCIL, YOSSI DAGAN, SAYING: "Settlements in the land of Israel should be established just as they are everywhere in the United States and Europe. People build and develop their homeland, especially after such a terrible attack, two attacks, in which people were murdered. It's the right response because the people of Israel are strong, Israel is a strong country and not only will we not be weakened, not only will terrorism not scare us or make us flee from our homeland - we will build more and more. Evyatar is a settlement that should be built. We expect the government, the ministers from the left and from the right, to unite around an act of value which is like no other, the establishment of a community in the land of Israel. Some things should be above politics." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING, SETTLERS AT OUTPOST VARIOUS OF SETTLERS, SUNSET, ISRAELI FLAG DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING SUNSET OVER ISRAELI OUTPOST, CLOUD BLACK SMOKE COVERS SCENE
- Embargoed: 8th July 2021 11:51
- Keywords: Israel Jerusalem Palestinians Sheikh Jarrah West Bank settlement settlers
- Location: BEITA AND GIVAT EVIATAR OUTPOST, WEST BANK
- City: BEITA AND GIVAT EVIATAR OUTPOST, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Middle East,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001EIRG9QF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In a strange fusion of the modern and medieval, green laser beams and flaming torches are lighting up a remote part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Palestinians wage a deadly battle to stop a new Jewish settlement.
The 'Night Disruption' protests south of Nablus have one goal - to halt the rapid growth of a settler outpost that was begun in early May and is now home to 53 Israeli families on what the Palestinians say is their land.
Israeli troops have shot dead five Palestinians during stone-throwing protests since Givat Eviatar was set up in early May, the Israeli military says.
The Israeli military has deployed troops during the Friday protests in the nearby village of Beita and the night protests, which began last week, see tyres burned nightly to engulf the settler homes in acrid smoke.
"We come at night, we light up the mountain, to send them a message that they can't have even an inch of this land," said one masked Palestinian this week, as he lit fires while others flashed laser pointers to dazzle the settlers in their homes.
"Our goal is for the smoke to reach them. The smoke is deadly, and annoying, and they won't be able to live with it," he told Reuters.
The Israeli military said it faced "hundreds of Palestinians throwing stones, lighting fires, burning tires and throwing explosives" at its troops.
"The large number of violent rioters endangers the lives of Israeli civilians and a military force has been deployed to provide protection. The IDF (Israeli military) forces are responding with riot dispersal methods," it said in a statement.
The settlers named the outpost for Eviatar Borovsky, an Israeli who was stabbed to death in 2013 by a Palestinian at a nearby road junction. The outpost has been built up and evacuated three times since then.
But it was set up without government authorisation - which makes it illegal even under Israeli law - and presents an early test for new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Bennett was once a senior leader of the settler movement and heads a far-right religious party.
But he sits precariously atop a new coalition that spans the Israeli political spectrum from far-right to far-left, and could be torn apart by internal disagreements if it makes sensitive policy decisions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli military issued an order to evacuate the outpost on June 6. But that was under Bennett's predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Bennett replaced on June 13.
The evacuation order has since been postponed, the Israeli military said, and Bennett has not said if he plans to implement it.
A spokesman for Bennett's office declined comment, but the settlers are intent on staying on what they call 'Eviatar's Hill' and Palestinians call 'Jabal Al-Sabih' or 'The Morning Mountain' - because the sunlight strikes it first.
"They won't drive us away from here. This is our homeland, this is our forefathers land. We love the land we want to be here, we know they come out of hate," said Eli Shapira, a 30-year-old teacher and father of four.
As construction proceeds, many of the settler families live in caravans. Some of its roads are already paved, and others are lined with electricity cables.
More than 440,000 Israeli settlers live uneasily among some 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, land that Israel captured and occupied after a 1967 war, but that Palestinians say is the heartland of a future state.
The Palestinians and most countries view Israel's settlements as illegal under international law. Israel disputes this, citing historical and biblical links to the land and its own security needs.
Palestinian officials say the new outpost, if left in place, would help create a contigious east-west line of Israeli settlements through the northern West Bank, cutting the territory in half and rendering Palestinian statehood unviable.
The site lies 30 km inside the West Bank in fertile olive and grape-growing territory for Palestinians around Nablus.
But also has many hilltop Jewish settlements whose residents use the Biblical names for the area - an 'I Heart Shomron' sign adorns the nearby crossroads.
"Settlements in the land of Israel should be established just as they are everywhere in the United States and Europe," said Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council.
"Israel is a strong country and not only will we not be weakened, not only will terrorism not scare us or make us flee from our homeland - we will build more and more."
On Sunday Israel's military rejected an appeal by the settlers against evacuation, saying the outpost "undermined security stability" in the area.
"Worse, the establishment of the illegal outpost was carried out during a complex period in which security forces and regional authorities faced significant security challenges," an Israeli military legal advisor wrote, referencing Israel-Gaza hostilities in May.
The settlers have until Monday to appeal to the Supreme Court, a military spokesman said.
Moussa Hamayel, Beita's deputy mayor, said they had heard the reports the outpost might be dismantled. But he was sceptical. "We don't trust their promises, not until we see (the outpost) completely empty," he said.
(Production: Mohammad abu Ganeyeh, Rami Amichay, Amir Cohen, Nuha Sharaf, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
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