Several thousand young Israelis swarmed though army roadblocks along the West Bank of the Jordan on Sunday (30 November) in a new attempt to establish an unauthorised Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied area.
GV & SV Group of settlers carrying packs along road (3 shots)
GV Settlers arrive at abandoned railway station at Sebastia (2 shots)
GV & SV Two groups link hands and dance and sign (3 shots)
SV Girl lying on bench PAN TO boys and girls lying around interior (2 shots)
SV EXT People near door and man with rifle slung on back
GV Soldiers hoist Israeli flag (2 shots)
GV Roadblock as but stops
GV Soldiers talk to bus driver
GV Soldiers with guns at side of road
GV PAN Settlers going down hill carrying possessions
GV People standing on top of hill looking down on others walking across fields (2 shots)
GV More settlers arrive and are greeted as accordions are played by original group of Sebastia settlers (2 shots)
GV Settlers arrive at railway building
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Background: Several thousand young Israelis swarmed though army roadblocks along the West Bank of the Jordan on Sunday (30 November) in a new attempt to establish an unauthorised Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied area.
The would be settlers, all members of the fervent Gush Emunim (Faith) movement, made their way by foot to the abandoned railway town of Sebastia, near Nablus, after many troops had stopped their convoy of vehicles.
Members of Gush Emunim believe that the Jewish people have the right to settle anywhere within the boundaries of biblical Israel, and this was their eighth attempt to set up a community at Sebastia since last July. Only last week, Israeli troops forcibly removed a group of sixty squatters from Sebastia.
Israeli government military officers warned Sunday's settlers that they, too, would be forcibly removed, but sheer weight of numbers made immediate action difficult, and the early settlers welcomed later arrivals to the sound of traditional music and dancing.
Troops then began to set up a military camp in the area. Under security regulations, they can declare the region around an encampment a closed zone and refuse admittance to all civilians.
Israeli Cabinet ministers discussed the Sebastia settlement attempt at a regular meeting on Sunday and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said later there had been no change in official government policy on such unauthorised moves. However Reuters quote observers in Tel Aviv suggesting that public opinion might shift behind the settlement attempt following the United Nations General Assembly's apparent step to allow the Palestine Liberation Organisation to attend January's session on the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of young Israelis swarmed through army roadblocks along the occupied West Bank of the River Jordan on Sunday in an attempt to set up an unauthorised Jewish settlement in the area.
The settlers all members of the fervent religious group Gush Emunim believe that the Jewish people have the right to settle anywhere within the boundaries of biblical Israel. This was their eighth attempt to settle the ancient town of Sebastia since July... and the second within a week. Earlier hopeful colonists have been forcibly evicted...but Sunday's arrivals were set to stay.
It's Israeli government policy to suppress unauthorised settlement attempts in the area, but to encourage strategic encampments. Gush Emunim say if they're not allowed to settle Sebastia, terrorists will move in.
But the Israeli army's still under orders to move the would-be settlers. Troops began establishing camp near the town...while buses carrying later arrivals were halted at new checkpoints.
But the presence of armed troops didn't deter many of the thousands who took part in the settlement attempt. Taking only their baggage, they competed the journey to Sebastia by foot.
Sunday's settlement push coincided with the second day of the Chanuka holy festival, the Feast of Lights. so far, public opinion's supported earlier government orders to oust Gush Emunim settlers. But observers suggest this could shift following the United Nation's apparent decision to allow the Palestine Liberation Organisation to attend next January's Middle East debate.