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Israeli forces close entrance to West Bank town with earth mounds

Jan. 4, 2015 7:29 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 5, 2015 12:18 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces early Sunday closed the western entrance to a town in the Salfit district with mounds of earth, locals told Ma'an.

The entrance of the village of Deir Istiya was recently closed by earth mounds piled on the street by Israeli bulldozers, but locals cleared the streets during the recent celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Fatah movement.

One local resident, Nathmi Salman, told Ma'an Israeli troops arrived with bulldozers overnight and re-closed the entrance completely.

Khlaf Khalaf, the mayor of Deir Istiya, described the closure as "collective punishment in line with the Israeli occupation's efforts to displace Palestinians and force them to leave their lands.

He said Israel has continued to expand Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land in the town. Most recently, Israel "'legalized' a new settlement outpost near the Wadi Qana area, which is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Palestine."

Over 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

Some settlers act without approval to expand settlements or create new ones in the West Bank, building outposts that are illegal even by Israeli government standards.

In some cases, these settlement outposts are "legalized" by Israel, and in rare cases they are dismantled.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are rarely granted permission to build in the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, or in East Jerusalem.
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