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Israel seals off road near South Hebron Hills

April 17, 2019 2:51 P.M. (Updated: April 18, 2019 12:16 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities sealed off the road between al-Tuwwana and al-Karmel villages east of Yatta City in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, on Wednesday morning.

Fouad al-Umour, coordinator of a local popular committee in the South Hebron Hills, said that Israeli forces placed cement block sealing off the road between the two villages.

Al-Umour added that the closure is a threat that Israeli might completely seal off the road, or place an iron gate, preventing movement of locals in or out of Yatta and Masafer Yatta area.

The South Hebron Hills, known locally as Masafer Yatta, lie almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and security control since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Israeli authorities seek to displace Masafer Yatta residents, in order to seize their lands, as part of an Israeli settlement expansion plan in the West Bank.

Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region, according to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ).

Masafer Yatta residents were expelled at the time of the establishment of a firing zone in the 1970s and were eventually allowed back following a long court battle, but are under the constant threat of being expelled or seeing their homes demolished.

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