How do settlers take over Palestinian land? One road gives the answer

To connect the enclaves that make up Kedumim, settlers seized control of a central road serving Palestinians and blocked their access to it.

Jewish Israelis near the settlement of Kedumim in the occupied West Bank, 25 April 2019

Dror Etkes writes in +972:

On Jan. 28, the day U.S. President Donald Trump published the “Deal of the Century,” a woman sat in a rental car in the settlement of Kedumim tapping away on her phone, as shots rang out from next-door Kufr Qaddum. The grunts of army vehicles could also heard emerging from the Palestinian village, which lies a few hundred meters west of the settlement.

The woman continued her drive south, toward Kedumim’s main exit, and I continued west down Nahlah Street. Across the street, I saw an elementary school pupil walk home, and a settler council service car pass by. A routine day in the settlement.

After a short while, I arrived at Kedumim’s westernmost house, which is nestled alongside Kufr Qaddum’s olive groves. It is likely that this point will soon become another marker of Israel’s international borders, if Trump’s plan is implemented and Israel annexes the settlements.

Kedumim was established in 1975 following the infamous “Sebastia compromise,” in which the settlers of Gush Emunim reached an agreement with then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres to found a new settlement in compensation for being moved away from the land they had taken over at Sebastia train station, adjacent to a Palestinian village of the same name in the northern West Bank. Many years before that, though, Nahlah Street was the road used by Kufr Qaddum’s Palestinian residents to access Nablus, their nearest major city.

But a 2-kilometer stretch of that road winds between the olive trees and fields of eastern Kufr Qaddum, upon which Kedumim was established 45 years ago. And for the past two decades, that route has been closed to the Palestinian residents of Kufr Qaddum. While the popular struggle has mostly subsided throughout the occupied West Bank, the village is one of the last places to see almost weekly Friday demonstrations, protesting against the road’s closure.

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