Israeli settlers storm into Palestinian home, occupy residence
Israeli settlers invaded a home in a Palestinian-owned building in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron and took up the apartment as their own, residents and Israeli security forces said on Thursday.
“At 1:30am we heard noises and it was the settlers,” Montasser Abu Rajab, who lives on the first floor of the building in Hebron’s Old City, said.
“They broke the main door and brought their furniture in, accompanied by the army, who locked us in our house,” he said.
Palestinian sources in Hebron said that the property belonged to the Abu Rajab family, who had sold the second floor of the house to another Palestinian family.
But the Israeli army – who confirmed the incident – claimed that “the title to the property is contested.”
“The area has been declared a closed military zone, and soldiers have been put in place to keep the calm,” a spokeswoman for the Israeli army said.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said “police have been dispatched to the scene to verify the legal status of the house and the property titles that are apparently the subject of litigation.”
The settlers also claimed that they had titles to the property, which is located near a prominent religious site for both Muslims and Jews.
Speaking to Israeli public radio, right-wing Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben Ari, of the National Union party, said it was “time to recover all the Jewish homes in Hebron stolen by the enemy.”
Right-wing Israeli politicians and figures often incite violence against Arabs, with Palestinians frequently attacked and harassed by settlers as well as the Israeli military, often with impunity.
House demolitions and evictions are among the serious threats indigenous Palestinians face on their native land, as Israel continues to build Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, including in Hebron, in defiance of the international community.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, with the territory being only a fraction of historical Palestine on which the Israeli state is now situated.
Israel maintains a military occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, imposing harsh restrictions on native Palestinians while providing privileges to illegal Jewish settlers.
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