Two Palestinian civilians were injured, and two were taken prisoner, during Tuesday clashes between farmers and residents of Um Salmouna village, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The clashes erupted as the army started bulldozing orchards in preparation for the construction of the illegal Wall.Two Palestinian civilians were injured, and two were taken prisoner, during Tuesday clashes between farmers and residents of Um Salmouna village, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The clashes erupted as the army started bulldozing orchards in preparation for the construction of the illegal Wall.
The planned route of the Wall will lead to the isolation of hundreds of dunams of orchards that belong to the residents. As the bulldozers started to uproot the orchards, dozens of residents protested in the area against the illegal activity.
Troops responded violently to the protesters and attacked them with batons and clubs inflicting two injuries among the residents. The two were transferred to a local clinic, medical sources reported.
Soldiers took prisoner one resident and took him to an unknown destination.
Several weeks ago, the Israeli army started uprooting several trees and orchards in the area in order to construct the illegal Wall in the southern part of Bethlehem.
The Wall will lead to the isolation of several villages, south of Bethlehem, especially the villages of Wad Rahhal, Um Salmouna, and Al Ma'sara.
Mahmoud Rasheed Taqatqa, head of Um Salmouna village council, stated that the planned route of the Wall will annex 700 Dunams planted with vines, grapes and olive trees. The lands belongs to the families of the 700 residents of the village.
Taqatqa added that this route is also part of an Israeli plan to expand the settlement of Efrat which was constructed on Palestinian lands that were illegally annexed by Israel.
He also said that since the mid-seventies, the settlers have made dozens of attempts to grab more Palestinian lands in the area, but the residents of Palestinian villages managed to obtain an order from the Israeli High Court of Justice in 1979.
“The settlers failed to grab the rest of our lands in 1979”, Taqatqa stated, “but now, the army, under security pretexts, is isolating and annexing our orchards”.