Early Wednesday morning, near the central West Bank town of Bir Zeit, a group of Israeli settlers attempted to take over buildings and land that has been designated by the Palestinian Authority for the construction of Rawabi, the first centrally-planned Palestinian town.Around 60 settlers associated with the group “Youth for the Land of Israel” hung Israeli flags on Palestinian-owned buildings and conducted a Jewish prayer service.

Meir Bertler, one of the settlers involved in the invasion, told the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahranoth, ‘We want to create a Jewish territorial sequence from Ofra to Ateret, and we know that the Palestinians plan to create a similar building sequence.”

Israeli settlers have established hundreds of settlements on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank, mostly in the last 18 years, following the Oslo Agreement which forbade such expansion. Over 500,000 Israelis currently live in settlements deemed illegal by the United Nations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, as they are constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Although US President Barack Obama called on the Israeli government to implement a 4-month settlement freeze, actions such as the one taken by the ‘Youth for the Land of Israel’ Wednesday morning continue on a daily basis, and Israeli settlers continue the construction of new developments on stolen Palestinian land.