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Activists attempt to construct protest village on confiscated lands

Dec. 27, 2014 7:56 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2014 2:10 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian popular resistance activists in the southern West Bank on Saturday attempted to build a tent village near the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion in protest against Israeli confiscation of Palestinian lands.

Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists took part in a march near the town of Beit Fajjar to mark the beginning of the protest village, which was erected on lands Israel has declared its intention to confiscate.

During the protest, however, Israeli forces arrived in the area and prevented the marchers from reaching the confiscated lands.

Coordinator of the Popular Resistance Committees in the southern West Bank, Muhammad Mheisen, said that the village would be named after slain Palestinian official Minister Ziad Abu Ein, who died after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the village of Turmusayya near Ramallah in early December.

Mheisen added that the village is being constructed in protest against Israeli land confiscation, which has accelerated markedly in the second half of this year.

Since the beginning of the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Israel has confiscated hundreds of thousands of dunums by declaring it state land.

Israeli authorities in 1968 banned Palestinians from registering their lands and subsequently took advantage of previously low rates of land registration to confiscate areas currently or previously in use by locals but not registered as such.

The confiscated lands are then used to construct Jewish-only settlements on the land, while further confiscation often uses the pretext of the settlements' security.

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