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Israeli forces close stores in Huwwara village, Nablus after rock-throwing incident

Oct. 7, 2016 11:22 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2016 10:38 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces Friday closed all the stores in the village of Huwwara in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, and prevented residents from the town from passing through the Beita crossroads after Palestinians allegedly threw rocks at Israeli settler vehicles on the main road.

A Ma’an reporter said that Israeli forces set up a military checkpoint at the Beita crossroads and prevented residents from exiting the village, while all shops on the Huwwara street were closed.

Israeli forces were also deployed at the main street and surrounding junctions. Huwwara’s main road connects several roads leading to nearby villages, as well as the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports.

The area around the Huwwara village is routinely closed by Israeli forces for alleged rock-throwing by mostly Palestinian teenagers from the area who target Israeli settlers traveling to and from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone-throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B'Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, "93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months."

Palestinian stone throwers face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing a law last year mandating 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.

In addition to long prison sentences, Palestinians accused of stone throwing, or those accused of being affiliated with stone throwers, face arbitrary punishments in the form of road closures and the sealing of entire villages, resulting in serious economic consequences and effects on mobility.

In September, several Nablus area residents saw the main roads of their villages sealed off for a week in a move that Israeli authorities claimed was implemented as a result of rocks being thrown in the area at Israeli settlers’ cars on the nearby Huwwara main road.

Conversely, Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank seldom result in any actions being taken by Israeli authorities.

According to UN documentation, there were a total of 221 reported settler attacks on Palestinians in 2015, with 83 attacks reported since the start of 2016.
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