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Official: Israel to cut off East Jerusalem villages

Sept. 19, 2010 4:50 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 21, 2010 9:04 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israel began construction on Wednesday to separate Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the city, a local committee leader said.

Head of the anti-settlement committee in the Shu'fat refugee camp Khader Salamah said Israeli authorities had erected 9- 12-meter concrete blocks around the military checkpoint at the camp's entrance, isolating Ras Al-Khamis, neighboring the camp.

The construction would increase the suffering of the 15,000 residents of the camp, particularly elderly or sick residents and schoolchildren, Salamah said.

Israel's planned construction extended to the Dahiyet As-Salam, Ras Shahadah and Anata villages, which when completed would affect the daily life of around 40,000 residents, Salamah said, adding that residents had instructed a lawyer, Dani Zaidman, to begin legal proceedings against Israeli authorities who had confiscated lands without notifying Palestinian owners.

The local committee was preparing to notify President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO negotiations department of the consequences of Israel's plan to isolate Palestinian neighborhoods. Israeli authorities were also at the final stages of constructing a new checkpoint at the entrance to Shu'fat refugee camp similar to the main checkpoints in the separation wall at Qalandiya and Hizma, Salamah said.

During the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur on Friday and Saturday, Israeli forces set up cement road blocks at the entrances to several suburbs of Jerusalem, including Al-Isawiya, northeast of Jerusalem and Sur Bahir in the south.

Fierce clashes had erupted on Thursday at Al-Isawiya, during which nine Palestinians were injured, including a paramedic, and six Palestinians were detained, medic Mohammad E'Beid said.
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