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Israeli forces close entrance to Wadi Fukin for settlement groundbreaking ceremony

Aug. 3, 2017 6:19 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2017 5:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces closed the entrance of a Bethlehem-area village on Thursday in preparation for the arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who traveled to the southern occupied West Bank to break ground on 1,100 new illegal settlement units in the area.

Ahmad Sukar, head of the Wadi Fukin village council, told Ma’an that Israeli forces closed off the entrance of the village with dirt mounds, preventing Palestinian residents from passing through, in preparation for Netanyahu’s arrival.

Sukar said the closure was expected to be lifted around 2 p.m, after Netanyahu installed the first stone of the planned 1,100 illegal housing units to be built as an extension of the existing Beitar Illit settlement.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into reports of the closure.

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

Meanwhile, although Israeli settler outposts -- unapproved by the Israeli government -- are even considered illegal under Israeli law, earlier this year, Israel passed the outpost Regularization law, which would pave the way for the retroactive legalization of dozens of Israeli settler outposts.

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