Villagers of Al Khader, located south-west of Bethlehem city in the southern West Bank revealed on Tuesday that Israeli settlers have started to build a new settlement post on their lands.
Mounier Mussa, the land owner where the post is being constructed, stated that, on Monday afternoon he went to his land following reports from neighbors over Isreali settlers beginning construction on his land.
When he arrived at the land he said that a group of right wing Israeli settlers from the Gush Etzion settlement, already built on land originally belonging to Al Khader village, had started to build a new post on his land.
Mussa stopped the work on his land, argued with the settlers and made them leave. Since his land is in Area C according to the Oslo accords, it is under full control of the Israeli military. He reported the attack to the Israeli military police.
Mussa went to court three years ago, when settlers tried to take his land then. He won and the Israeli court issued a restraining order against the settlers. On Monday, the settlers broke the court ruling and attacked the land again.
Mussa owns around 14 acres in the area coveted by the settlers, and alleged that former Israeli MK Yighal Biebi from the right wing political group in Israel, Mifdal, was supporting the illegal construction attempts on his land, and even offered money to Mussa in exchange for the land.
Mussa maintains that he will never sell his land to the Israeli settlers, as he fears that in any sale, the settlers will take not only his land, but will also confiscate all the land around it, under the claim of providing security for the settlement post.
The village of Al Khader is often targeted by the Israeli army. Farmers there are losing their land to the illegal Israeli wall, in addition to the ongoing expansion of existing settlements which surround the village, and now the attempt to build the new outpost .
Mussa stated that he will continue to fight in court to keep the settlers away from his land, and added that he would ‘do what ever it takes to keep the land that is the only source of income for me and my family’.