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Israel frees journalists arrested at Bethlehem protest

Aug. 27, 2011 9:20 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2011 11:15 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces briefly arrested four Palestinian photojournalists early Saturday at a demonstration near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, a Reuters cameraman said.

The journalists, two from Reuters and one each from Ma'an and AFP, were released shortly after being detained while covering protests against land-confiscation in the village of Walaja, the cameraman said.

Walaja hosts weekly protests challenging Israel's plans to seize a third of its territory, a decision that would cut off the village's 2,500 residents from farming land, a cemetery and a nearby spring.

Israel's supreme court on Tuesday upheld the route of its separation barrier that will eventually split the village, ruling that security concerns outweighed the disturbance to livelihoods. Residents had appealed to the court to reroute a portion of the barrier around Walaja rather than through it.

Israel says the barrier is designed to prevent attacks, but the Palestinians view it as an apartheid wall carving off key parts of their promised state. All but 15 percent of its route is inside Palestinian territory.
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