Is the Palestinian Authority Secretly Financing Environmental Terrorism in West Bank?

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Reprinted from Honest Reporting.

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Between May and July 2021, Palestinian rioters from the West Bank town of Beita burned over 70,000 tires, severely damaging the environment and posing a serious health threat for West Bank residents – Arabs and Jews alike.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, burning tires break down into hazardous materials including gases and heavy metals. They can burn for months, constantly generating unhealthy smoke. Furthermore, on average, burning just one passenger car tire produces over two gallons (7.6 liters) of toxic oil runoff, inevitably contaminating soil and groundwater.

By creating harmful smoke clouds, in addition to employing so-called “night confusion” tactics — first developed by terror groups in the Gaza Strip — Palestinians try to drive out residents of nearby Jewish communities. For the last few months, their intensifying efforts have focused on Evyatar, a newly established but highly contested outpost in the Samaria region of the West Bank.

CNN, Reuters and AFP all covered what they described as Palestinian “protests” against the establishment of Evyatar, but neglected to note the obvious environmental disaster caused by these aggressive demonstrations. More importantly, they ignored evidence that points to the likely involvement of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling Fatah faction in the environmental terrorism perpetrated by night confusion units.

Research by HonestReporting indicates that Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were heavily involved, and the Western-backed PA recently provided Beita’s residents with almost a million US dollars to “strengthen their steadfastness.”

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‘An appropriate Zionistic response to murder’

Evyatar was first established in 2013 after the murder of Evyatar Borovsky, a 31-year old father of five who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant at the nearby Tapuach Junction. Within hours after the attack, Fatah praised the terrorist as a “hero.” Subsequently, local residents erected a building in Borovsky’s memory, but the Israeli army razed the structure within days, as it was built without permission from the IDF.

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In the aftermath of the May 2021 shooting that killed Israeli student Yehuda Guetta (19), which also happened at the Tapuach Junction, members of the Nachala Settlement Movement re-established the community of Evyatar. Within six weeks, some 50 families moved to the new town, including Evyatar Borovsky’s widow, describing their presence as an “appropriate Zionistic response to murder.”

Related Reading: How Strong is the Jewish Claim to the West Bank?

Palestinians from the villages of Beita and Yatma, however, say the land belongs to them. The Nachala Movement, on the other hand, argued that the Samaria Regional Council has owned the land on which Evyatar was built for over two decades, and that no Arabs have come forward with a legal claim to the area. This fact notwithstanding, local Palestinians launched a terror campaign against the Jews of Evyatar, as well as the environment.

For days and nights on end, thick clouds of rubber smoke covered the sky over the outpost. Moreover, young men from Beita caused disturbances by flashing laser lights at the town and blasting music over speakers. Video footage (see here, here and here) shows disturbing scenes of Palestinians marching towards Evyatar while calling to bomb it. In addition, the rioters hurled stones and explosives at Israeli security forces and set fire to tires.

“We’re living in a cloud of carcinogenic smoke,” Evyatar resident Tzvi Succot described the situation on June 23. “Kids are coughing and getting sick.” According to Succot, Palestinians were bringing in “dozens of trucks” loaded with cancer-causing materials to burn in the vicinity of his village.

On July 11, Palestinians on Facebook boasted how Beita’s “Kushuk” (tire burning) unit “effectively and tactically” monitored the direction of the wind on an hourly basis, to make sure that the toxic smoke would reach Evyatar. As HonestReporting reported in 2018, when Gaza-based terrorists employed the same tire burning strategy against Israeli civilians in the South, the operation was seemingly highly organized.

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Indeed, evidence from Palestinian sources suggests that the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, the faction led by Mahmoud Abbas that has ruled the West Bank by decree for over a decade, are supporting the Kushuk units that have made life unbearable for some Jewish residents of the region. This directly contradicts the July 17 CNN article that echoed claims that “the protests are not being coordinated by any Palestinian political factions” and that the “Palestinian Authority [is] increasingly seen as out of touch.”

Related Reading: Media Silent on Abbas Beginning 17th Year of Four-year Term

Fatah Admits: ‘Our Fighters’ Are Active Around Evyatar

It seems that Fatah and its offshoots have supported the environmental terror in Samaria from the very beginning. On May 15, just days after the establishment of Evyatar, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — Fatah’s military branch — distributed a flyer that called on Palestinians in the area surrounding the outpost to immediately disable cameras that face the street. The ​​communiqué, shared on a Facebook page run by residents of Beita, warned that the US-designated terror group would strike with an “iron fist” against anyone who “tries to tamper with the security of our fighters” [emphasis added].

Fatah’s involvement in the riots furthermore becomes clear from other sources. On June 11, Israeli forces shot and killed Mohammad Hamayel during riots outside Beita which, the IDF said, included hundreds of Palestinians hurling stones, burning tires and setting off fireworks. Shortly after Hamayel’s death, the PLO’s Detainees Affairs Commission uploaded a martyr poster that identified him as being associated with Fatah. Photos taken after Hamayel’s burial also show that the flag of the Palestinian movement was placed close to his graveside.

In an even more worrying development, some Israeli Twitter users pointed out that the PA — supported by many Western countries — earlier this month decided to reward the Beita terrorists with millions of shekels.

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On June 24, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh visited the West Bank town. “Our presence here is not only symbolic, but practical,” Shtayyeh said. “I say to our people in Beita that we are ready to provide them with all that they need to strengthen their steadfastness.”

Accordingly, on July 5, the PA cabinet allocated NIS 3,124,000 (approximately USD 950,000) “to support the steadfastness of the citizens.” While the official announcement said the money would go towards Beita’s “development needs,” this is all but certain: The PA is well-known for its practice of subverting funds to reward terrorism against the Jewish state.

Related Reading: Media Blackout as PLO Commits War Crimes — Days After Abbas Calls for its Removal from US Terror List

Perhaps emboldened by the donation from the Palestinian Authority — led by so-called moderates and widely seen as the official representative of the Palestinians — Beita’s Kushuk units continued their polluting activities, contravening the PA’s commitment to protecting the environment under the Paris agreement.

Meanwhile, on July 4, all residents of Evyatar voluntarily left their homes, after they struck a deal with the Israeli government. Under the terms of the accord, the residential town will serve as a military outpost until the legal ownership of the land is determined. This “land survey” can take months, if not years. Whether the 53 Jewish families will return to Evyatar is therefore unclear – but the Fatah-backed environmental terrorism nevertheless persists.

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