In rare case, Palestinians reclaim settlement land
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS October 3, 2013 8:12AM
BURKA, West Bank — After a long court battle, Palestinian farmers have reclaimed land they lost to an Israeli settlement in the 1970s.
Israel dismantled Homesh and three other West Bank settlements in 2005, in connection with a wider withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, but refused to let the original Palestinian landowners return to the Homesh area.
The Israeli group Yesh Din says it fought a successful legal battle to restore the land to the farmers.
On Thursday, farmers from the village of Burka returned to their nearby land for the first time.
Fathallah Hajjeh says he “never felt such joy.”
Since capturing the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in 1967, Israel built and expanded settlements, now home to more than half a million Israelis.
The Palestinians seek a state in those territories.