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Forces detain 9 Israelis for blocking Bethlehem wall build

Jan. 8, 2012 3:58 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2012 12:19 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained nine Israeli activists blocking the path of bulldozers constructing Israel's separation wall surrounding a Bethlehem village on Sunday.

The group sat infront of vehicles levelling ground to build the concrete wall that will entirely enclose the village of al-Walaja, popular committee member Shireen Al-Araj told Ma'an.

"They stopped the bulldozers for more than an hour, before work resumed," she said, adding that the path of the wall has almost been completed by Israeli forces.

The army confirmed that Israeli border police had arrested nine Israelis.

After the village lost a high court ruling against the wall route in late August, EU representatives said they were "deeply concerned" by the impact of the wall on the village, saying it "will cut off much of the village's land," preventing residents from accessing their property and agricultural land.

Upon completion the wall will completely "encircle" the village, EU representatives said, leaving only a single access road connecting the village to the West Bank.

As well as mounting legal challenges to the route, Walaja residents hold regular demonstrations against the impact of the wall.

When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and "tantamount to annexation."
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