Israeli settlers hold flag marches in occupied West Bank

By Qais Abu Samra

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Hundreds of Israeli settlers held flag marches Monday in the occupied West Bank, which were secured by a heavy deployment of Israeli forces.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent reported that the settlers started their march from Za'tara square near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank and marched towards a settlement outpost on Sbeih Mountain holding Israeli flags.

In the southern West Bank near the city of Bethlehem, eyewitnesses reported a rally in the Israeli settlement complex of Gush Etzion in which settlers held Israeli flags and chanted anti-Arab slogans.

Similar marches were held in the Israeli settlement of Kedumim near the city of Qalqilya in the northern West Bank and in the Al-Aghwar area near Masafer Yatta in the southern West Bank.

Heavy deployments of Israeli forces were reported to have protected the marches.

On Thursday, Israeli settlers circulated calls on social media to protest by waving Israeli flags against what they said was the failure to carry out demolition orders for Palestinian homes in the so-called C area of the West Bank.

Under the 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was divided into three portions – Area A, B and C – with area C under administrative and security control of Israel until a final status agreement is reached with the Palestinians.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.

*Ahmed Asmar in Ankara contributed to this report