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Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian during West Bank settlement protest

Imad Ali Dweikat, 37, was killed on Friday afternoon, while two Palestinians were injured and several suffered from suffocation caused by tear gas
Paramedics evacuate a protester injured by Israeli fire during a demonstration against the settlement of Eviatar Beita village, north of the occupied West Bank, 6 August 2021 (AFP)

A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire on Friday in Beita village, north of the occupied West Bank, during a protest against the establishment of an illegal settlement, which Israel turned into an army base last month.

Imad Ali Dweikat, 37, was killed on Friday afternoon, while two Palestinians were injured and several suffered from suffocation caused by tear gas, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Dweikat is the seventh Palestinian shot dead by Israeli fire in Beita, a village south of Nablus city. In May, the residents of Beita started protesting almost daily against the establishment of a settlement, calling on Israel to dismantle it.

Wafa said that Dweikat was shot by a live bullet in the chest and was taken to Rafidia hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Ahmed Jibreel, the head of A&E and ambulance at the Palestinian Red Crescent, told Wafa that two other Palestinians were injured in Beita, one with a live bullet in the leg. At the same time, journalist Naseem Maala was shot in the knee with a rubber-coated bullet, while 17 people suffered suffocation from tear gas.

How the Beita unrest started

In July, Israel evacuated dozens of Jewish settlers from the illegal settlement of Eviatar near Beita, after a deal was reached between a settler leader and the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

According to the deal, Israel will keep about 50 caravan houses installed in May on Palestinian lands belonging to the residents of Beita, while settlers would "return" to the land when Israeli authorities designate it as "state-owned."

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Eviatar, meanwhile, would be turned into a religious school and a military base for the Israeli army.

Amid the political and media focus on the Israeli war on Gaza in May and the violent crackdown on Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers moved to Mount Sabih, or Jabal Sabih in Arabic, located on the southern outskirts of Beita.

Within days, settlers installed mobile houses, built roads and raised an Israeli flag over the settlement.

Israeli forces have killed seven Palestinians and wounded more than 300 people since these protests started in May. Palestinians in the area have recently started rallying after midnight, using torches, lasers and honking horns in an effort to push the settlers out.

Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and has since exponentially expanded settlements on occupied lands, which now house 650,000 Israeli settlers.