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West Bank annexation plan, clashes between Israeli and Palestinian farmers

 Israeli security forces at the scene of clashes near El Matan in the West Bank Israeli security forces at the scene of clashes near El Matan in the West Bank Sraya Diamant/Flash90

06 July 2020

As annexation becomes a possibility, tensions increase in the West Bank

With the prospect of imminent annexation of a quarter of Palestinian territory - promised by 1 July and temporarily put on hold by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - tensions in the West Bank increase.

On 27 June, the city of Biddya - north east Palestine - was the theatre of clashes between Israeli and Palestinian farmers. According to a member of the Biddya Emergency Committee and several Palestinian sources, the clashes began after the Israeli farmers decided to organize a bulldozer raid. The aim of such an act was to seize the surrounding arable land, which the Israeli farmers considered as their own, even though it belongs to private Palestinian citizens. The Samaria Council, instead, described such actions as a reaction to the attack inflicted on the farmers by "100 Arabs". This version of the events is discredited by both Palestinian and Times of Israel sources, and the Israeli police have not confirmed who started the clashes. The Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that two Palestinian men were wounded and, additionally, the Times of Israel reported that four Israeli were injured.

While the annexation date was postponed due to political issues between Netanyahu and his allies, the new annexation plan has nevertheless maintained the tension high in the West Bank. The prospects for such action towards Palestine would have significant geopolitical implications, but it is the farmers of these lands who are currently paying the price. Sabotage, violence and similar events are commonplace for both sides. Recently, however, the informal approval of the Israeli authorities and the legitimacy resulting from a possible annexation have further emboldened Israeli farmers to carry out such actions.


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Author: Matteo Consiglio; Editor: Margherita Curti

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