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Israel imposes punitive measures on Bethlehem-area village after stone-throwing

Feb. 15, 2017 2:24 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 10:52 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces imposed punitive measures on residents from the village of Husan in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Wednesday amid a crackdown on relatives of alleged Palestinian stone throwers.

Israeli forces prevented workers in the village from entering the illegal Beitar Illit settlement where they are employed, while confiscating several Palestinian-owned vehicles.

According to a Ma’an reporter on the scene, dozens of workers from Husan were surprised when they were barred from entering the nearby Israeli settlement for work, despite having permits. The Israeli military had reportedly issued an order preventing any family members of Palestinian “stone throwers” from working in the settlement.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma'an that measures were taken in Husan after "violent activities," saying that Israeli forces had seized vehicles and "addressed the support systems" of the alleged stone throwers, although they could not elaborate on what that meant.
 

Israeli forces had also closed the main entrance of the village connecting Husan with Bethlehem city several days ago with large cement blocks, while military checkpoints were also erected at other entrances of the village.

In addition, Israeli forces raided Husan during predawn hours on Wednesday, confiscating five Palestinian-owned vehicles they claimed were “illegal.”

Clashes erupt between local youths and Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-daily basis, while Palestinian youth routinely throw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli settler vehicles on the settler bypass road connecting Beitar Illit to other illegal Israeli settlements in the Gush Etzion settlement block and to Israel.

According to the Palestinian nonprofit the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), the settler bypass road has divided the village from north to south, isolating large tracts of village land and preventing village residents from accessing it, which has severely undermined agricultural development in the area.

Like many Palestinian villages that have had their lands confiscated by the Israeli military, residents often become dependent on employment in surrounding illegal Israeli settlements in order to sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, Palestinians accused of stone throwing, or those accused of being affiliated with stone throwers, routinely face arbitrary punishments in the form of road closures and the sealing of entire villages, resulting in serious economic consequences and effects on mobility that rights group have labeled “collective punishment,” representing a clear violation of international law.

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