Jerusalem24 – Israeli authorities are demanding the lowering of a Palestinian flag raised by the Orthodox boy scouts group on one of the tents it set up as part of its annual summer camp, which opened Friday in the Wadi al-Makhrour area of Beit Jala.
Camp leader Khaled Kassis stated that an Israeli army force stormed the “Al-Makhrour” area, west of the city, where the camp is located, and notified those in charge of it of lowering the Palestinian flag and removing a mobile home used as a kitchen, under the pretext that it disturbs a settler who seized the citizens’ land and settled there.
He pointed out that lowering the Palestinian flag means removing the camp, and this will not happen, adding that the camp includes 140 participants from the age group (13 years).
Two years ago, a settler set up caravans on a large plot of land in Wadi al-Makhrour, and set up a cattle, sheep and bird farm there, West of Bethlehem.
A local activist, Hassan Breijieh, The aforementioned farm has become a preparation for controlling the entire lands of Al-Makhrour. The area of the land is about four acres, and is known as the “Al-Qusayr” site in the middle of the Makhroor area.
It is noteworthy that Israeli soldiers demolished a restaurant and a house belonging to Ramzi Qaisiya in the area, which are located next to the place where this settler’s farm was erected. The Israeli forces also conducted a survey of the land.
Brijieh warned of the danger of this step, describing it as dangerous for several reasons, including that the site of the “caravan” farm is located in the middle of the Makhroor lands, as well as hundreds of meters from the tunnel that cuts the lands of Beit Jala, and forms the link between Jerusalem and settlements West and South of Bethlehem.
He added, “this step is considered a strategy for the settlers and the occupation government, which seeks to evaluate the Greater Jerusalem plan, and for the Al-Makhrour lands to be an important and decisive part of the Greater Jerusalem Declaration if the plan is implemented, and therefore it must be confronted by all means.”
Brijieh confirmed that a commission is closely following the issue, and will submit an objection to the Israeli judicial authorities, through lawyer Ghaith Nasser, pointing to the lack of confidence in the Israeli judiciary.
He also indicated that he submitted a complaint and ownership papers for Palestinian citizens to the Israeli police, and said that not removing the house would be a prelude to turning it into a settlement outpost, and Israelis seizing two thousand dunams of Bethlehem.
He stressed that the soldiers’ targeting of the summer camp comes in the context of attempts to control the lands of al-Makhrour, which cross a Palestinian strategic area, and to be a link between western Jerusalem and the settlements of Bethlehem Governorate.