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Official: Israel forbids construction of public park in Jenin village

Oct. 24, 2013 10:18 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2013 10:11 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities banned Palestinians from continuing construction on a park in the Jenin district village of Bartaa al-Sharqiya, a local official told Ma'an Thursday.

Tawfiq Qabha, a member of the village council, told Ma’an that volunteers established the park - the only public park in the village - four months ago.

Thursday morning, Qabha said, Israeli soldiers prevented locals from working on the park, saying that because they had not secured a construction permit, work on the park would have to stop.

He said that Israel has targeted Bartaa al-Sharqiya since 2003, when it began building the separation wall that now surrounds the village.

Israeli forces have imposed a checkpoint that has strictly limited freedom of movement for village residents, Qabha continued.

The village, inside the Bartaa enclave, is one of eight communities encircled by the separation wall. The area falls in what Israel defines as the Seam Zone, a quasi-military zone in which construction is forbidden without prior coordination with Israeli authorities, which is near-impossible to secure.

According to the UN, Around 7,500 Palestinians who reside in the Seam Zone require special permits to continue living in their own homes; another 23,000 will be isolated upon the wall's completion.
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