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Israeli forces confiscate Palestinian bulldozer near Nablus

Jan. 7, 2016 4:30 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 8, 2016 9:51 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday morning confiscated a bulldozer being used by Palestinians to reclaim agricultural land near Nablus in the northern West Bank, local officials told Ma'an.

Bilal Abd al-Hadi, the deputy mayor of the town of Aqraba, said the bulldozer was rehabilitating land for agricultural purposes in the al-Khirbeh area between Aqraba and the neighboring town of Majdal Bani Fadil when Israeli forces arrived and confiscated it.

Abd al-Hadi said Israeli officers presented an official warrant before confiscating the piece of equipment.

An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.

Land reclamation is a significant issue for Palestinians, as Israeli law, based on Ottoman-era legislation, allows the Israeli state to seize land not cultivated by its owners for more than three years.

Israeli-claimed "state lands" in the West Bank are then often used as construction sites for Jewish-only settlements, in contravention of international law.

According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, Israel "has confiscated lands from Aqraba town and the neighboring villages, in order to establish illegal settlements in the area."

ARIJ reports that many Palestinian landowners in Aqraba have been unable to access their lands as they have been fenced off with barbed wire by Israeli settlers, and attacks by settlers have had "a profoundly negative impact on village residents and their property."
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