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Israel sets up iron gate at entrance of private Palestinian graveyard

Oct. 25, 2017 12:37 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2017 4:07 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday set up an iron gate at the entrance of private Palestinian graveyard in the southern occupied West Bank Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja.

Locals told Ma’an that the plot of land where the gate was set up around belongs to Ahmad Barghouthi, and holds the graves of several of his family members.

Israeli forces reportedly told Barghouthi that the land is located inside the route for Israel’s separation wall, therefor cutting off his access to the graveyard.

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

This story continues below.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces on Tuesday reportedly delivered a demolition notice to an under-construction two-story home in the village, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. 

Residents of al-Walaja lost over three-quarters of their lands since the state of Israel was established in 1948, when most of the village’s residents became refugees.

During Israel’s military takeover of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, 50 percent of al-Walaja’s lands were annexed to the Jerusalem municipality.

Meanwhile, Israel’s separation wall encircles al-Walaja, the hometown of slain Palestinian activist Basel al-Araj, and swathes of land have been reappropriated by the Israeli government for the construction and expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements of Gilo, Har Gilo, and Givat Yael.

The Israeli government has also planned to confiscate hundreds of acres from al-Walaja for the establishment of a national park.
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