Ma'an News Agency
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Caravan homes, water tanks and tents were installed by settlers on lands belonging to the village of Deir Al-Hatab on Thursday, in what locals said appeared to be an attempt to create an outpost of Elon Moreh settlement.

Head of the Deir Al-Hatab village council, Abdul Karim Hussein, said the outpost was set up in the early hours of the morning about 500 meters northeast of the village.

An Israeli military spokesman said the settler presence was not a new outpost, but rather an area outside the settlement set aside for the celebration of Passover. The spokesman said the area was taken over by settlers with military authorization for the week of Passover, noting he expected it to be removed when the holidays finished.

Hussein said there were dozens of settlers seen on the site, and speculated that the move was an attempt to gain access to a spring on the outskirts of the village.

The local leader said the takeover of the land followed the beating of a second village council member who was tending agricultural lands last week in the area where the outpost was erected.

Hussein said the local council contacted Palestinian officials about the new outpost, noting villagers were scared to approach the area.

Deir Al-Hatab has a population of 2,400, and is located east of Nablus, it is flanked by Elon Moreh to the north, and its neighboring village of Salim to the south. Further south of Salim is an Israeli military guard tower, a series of roadblocks and trench preventing villagers from accessing points otu the south. The population center has one road leading in and out.


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