Palestinians hit the springs to cool off amid heatwave

STORY: The Oja spring which provides a short respite from the sweltering heat is usually packed with Palestinian families on the weekends who come armed with floaties, quad-runners, and music.

Residents of the area also bring their livestock to drink and cool off near the stream.

However, residents expressed concern when a group of Israeli settler families, under the protection of the Israeli army, also visited the stream and played in the water, splitting it into two.

The group pitched a tent in the area with Israeli flags seen flying over the spot of shade, while Israeli soldiers stood nearby.

Al-Oja lies in the occupied West Bank, an area that was split into zones A, B and C during the Oslo peace accords agreed to in the 1990s and where Israeli settlements have been growing for years, raising Palestinian fears of displacement.

Most countries regard settlements Israel has built on territory it captured in a 1967 Middle East war as illegal. Israel disputes this and has settled some 440,000 Israelis in the West Bank, citing biblical, historical and political ties to the area, where 3 million Palestinians live under military rule.

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