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Israeli forces continue 2-week closure of Qalqiliya-area village

Aug. 1, 2017 10:51 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2017 12:55 P.M.)
An Israeli road closure at Issawiya village in East Jerusalem, Oct 20 2015 (Emily Mulder/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces continued to uphold a closure on the village of Azzun Atma in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya for the second consecutive week.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Monday that Israeli forces have continued to prohibit Palestinians from entering the area who are not residents of the village.

An employee at Azzun Atma’s village council Abd al-Karim Ayoub reportedly said that Israeli forces had erected an army checkpoint at the northern entrance of the village “under the pretext that Palestinians illegally enter Israel through the village.”

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

Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel due to crippling unemployment in the West Bank, as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according to rights groups.

Meanwhhile, Palestinian communities are routinely subjected to arbitrary road closures by Israeli military forces for purported "security reasons," an act which rights groups have denounced as amounting to collective punishment.

Wafa also reported that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Shaarei Tikva had pumped sewage from the settlement into a valley near Azzun Atma amid the ongoing closure.

Palestinians have often complained of Israeli settlers dumping sewage into Palestinian areas of the West Bank, which often attracts insects that can affect agricultural yields and pollute water sources. Health problems are also routinely reported in the West Bank due to sewage runoff from Israeli settlements.
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