It’s night-time, and the lights of our 4×4 guide the way up a mountain road in the West Bank.
We’re above the village of Battir, south of Jerusalem, on rocky land that has been farmed by generations of the same Palestinian families over decades.
They didn’t create this road. It was bulldozed one evening by an Israeli settler living nearby. In the weeks that followed, he moved sheep on to the land, built a pen for them, and then dug a hole out the side of the hill.
We’re with Hasan, one of the villagers who has fought to reclaim this land through Israeli courts.
“He (the settler) was just over there, and he started expanding all over this hilltop.
“He brought some kind of big containers on wheels and he created like a big camp, with electricity generators and so on, and bringing all the facilities of water tanks and stuff like that.”
Every evening, men from Battir come up here to keep watch on a rota. Within minutes of us arriving, a spotter saw the car lights and raised the alarm.
Hasan said: “His (the settler’s) claim was a grazing permit to come just to graze his sheep in the area. Then he starts saying this is the promised land of Israel and this is the land of the state of Israel, and I have the right to be here.
“But he never showed any evidence of land ownership or a contract that he got through any legal body.”
Hasan and his fellow villagers have been threatened and on one occasion had tear gas fired at them by Israeli security when they tried to stand their ground.
“There were over a hundred settlers coming all together. We were really worried that it will become like a violent reaction. The third time he came in March or in February 2022, it was the most dangerous one when he came with some support of soldiers with him.
“They start shooting tear gas on us to prevent us from even getting closer from the hilltop over there. So we learn that this is getting violent. We are not looking to lose somebody from our village or our brothers or our cousins.”
It is a story you hear regularly in the West Bank. Israeli settlement expansion is illegal under international law and opposed by the US, UK, EU and the UN. It is the source of extreme anger for many Palestinians.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has flown in at a “pivotal moment” as the security situation here grows ever more volatile by the day.
He met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday and will sit down with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah on Tuesday.
Although the US still talks of a two-state solution, as do other international governments, it is a non-starter right now.
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Mr Netanyahu is facing international pressure to calm the tensions, whilst at the same time beholden to extreme right-wing voices in his new cabinet.
In response to recent terror attacks in Jerusalem, the government has said it wants to arm more Israeli civilians and there has already been talk of introducing the death penalty.
The future for Hasan, and other Palestinians, is concerning.
Hasan said: “Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous situation. We are really worried about all the support that the settlers are gaining through the new government.
“We are really worried they will come and they will attack us with their weapons, and we will not be allowed to be here anymore.”
What do you want? I ask him.
“I want to live in peace. I want to live in freedom. I want freedom because freedom will get us peace and justice. Without the freedom, we will never get peace and justice in this country.
“And there should be a solution if they want to have a one-state, two-state, 10-state solution, I don’t mind, I just want a free state that we could live in as Palestinians.”