Palestinian cave-dwellers worry over Israeli settler incursions

By Yosri Al Jamal SUSIYA, West Bank (Reuters) - Home for Palestinian Barakat Mour is a hillside cave in the West Bank, which he says is often under threat from Israeli settlers in the occupied territory. 'You'll be sitting with your wife in the cave and the settlers will raid it without any notice,' Mour, 60, told Reuters about his family's dwelling near the West Bank city of Hebron. 'Here is where I was born.

Reuters February 06, 2021 00:11:58 IST
Palestinian cave-dwellers worry over Israeli settler incursions

Palestinian cavedwellers worry over Israeli settler incursions

By Yosri Al Jamal

SUSIYA, West Bank (Reuters) - Home for Palestinian Barakat Mour is a hillside cave in the West Bank, which he says is often under threat from Israeli settlers in the occupied territory.

"You'll be sitting with your wife in the cave and the settlers will raid it without any notice," Mour, 60, told Reuters about his family's dwelling near the West Bank city of Hebron.

"Here is where I was born. I was born in this cave. Homeland is very dear and my land is very dear to me, it is part of me," he said.

The Israeli military said that in recent weeks "there have been several reports of friction between settlers and Palestinians in caves near the village of (At-Tuwani)" and that troops worked to "separate the participants and restore order".

Natural caves dot the southern Hebron hills. According to the Israeli rights group B'Tselem, Palestinian cave-dwellers have been living there at least since the 1830s, using some caves as shelter for sheep and goats and others as homes.

Most have openings carved from stone and are divided into a living space, a storage area and a kitchen.

Mour and his 12 brothers live in the Palestinian village of Yatta, but spend most days in a cave and rotate sleeping there to deter settlers from seizing it at night, he said.

Mour said that in one incident last week around 70 settlers entered the cave and damaged property.

Some 440,000 settlers live among more than 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and that Palestinians seek for a future state.

Most countries view Israeli settlements in occupied territory as illegal under international law. Israel disputes this, citing historic, biblical and political links to the land as well as security needs.

Israeli and Palestinian activists have staged demonstrations outside the cave to support Mour's family.

At one recent protest, on Jan. 23, activists banged drums and chanted "occupation, no more" towards a group of settlers before being dispersed by Israeli troops firing stun grenades.

The military said "a disturbance developed" during which a number of Palestinians violated an order to leave the area, resulting in soldiers employing "riot dispersal means".

(Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alex Richardson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.