Violence Escalates In Beita, Occupied West Bank

In the flashpoint village of Beita in the occupied West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians gathered to protest an illegal Israeli military camp nearby. The humanitarian organization, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, has stated that over 320 Palestinians have been injured in protests against the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Givat Eviatar. This includes 68 injuries by rubber-coated bullets, 21 by live fire, and many others by tear gas. The Israeli army has said two soldiers were “lightly injured” in the violence that occurred last week on Friday. It has also been reported that Mohammed Munir al-Tamimi, 17, was shot by Israeli forces and later died in the hospital. His funeral was held in the occupied West Bank, with hundreds attending.

According to the Israeli army, “over the last several hours, a riot was instigated in the area of Givat Eviatar outpost, south of Nablus,” adding that, “Hundreds of Palestinians hurled rocks at IDF troops, who responded with riot dispersal means.”

Shadi Omar Lotfi Salim, 41, was shot dead this week. Beita mayor, Mussa Hamayel, stated that Israeli soldiers killed the man as he was returning to the village from work. According to Hamayel, there were no protests in the area the day Salim was “killed in cold blood.” Salim was responsible for water engineering at the village municipality, and local Palestinian news agency Maan quoted security sources saying Salim’s death was due to an ambush the Israeli army set up for him at the village’s junction. Israeli forces stated while on routine duty, soldiers “spotted a Palestinian suspect in the area.” After news of Salim’s death, protests in Beita broke out once again, with the Red Crescent recording 106 Palestinian injuries.

This area has seen demonstrations regularly against settlement expansion on Palestinian land. In early May, Jewish settlers set up Givat Eviatar outpost, involving building homes and shacks in the first weeks of being there. This construction defies both international and Israeli law, which was the cause of the protests from Palestinians insisting Givat Eviatar was being built on their land.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his new government struck a deal with the settlers who agreed to leave the outpost on July 2, with their structures remaining under army guard. Hamayel has rejected this deal, stating that protests will continue “as long as any Israeli remains on our land.”

Israel’s defence ministry stated it would assess whether, under Israeli law, this area could be declared state land. This would mean that Israel could then authorize the construction of religious schools in Givat Eviatar, including residences for its staff and students. While this decision is being made, Israeli forces remain in the area. Today, about 475,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank.