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Israel to seize Jerusalem village land to construct wall

Dec. 29, 2012 8:43 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 1, 2013 1:14 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities issued notices on Friday to annex 456 dunams of land from a Jerusalem village in order to build part of its separation wall, local officials said.

Head of Beit Iksa village council Kamal Hababa said villagers were shocked when they saw the notices detailing plans to seize agricultural land, officials news agency Wafa reported.

The notices invited residents to participate in a tour with Israeli military officers along the proposed route of the barrier, Hababa said, adding that villagers refused to take part and vowed to confront soldiers if they come to the village.

The wall, when finished, will surround the village on all sides and annex around 12,000 dunams of agricultural land used for growing olive trees and grape vineyards.

Beit Iksa's 2,000 residents will be left with only 300 dunams of land for natural growth and will be separated from Jerusalem and isolated from the rest of the West Bank, Jerusalem governorate official Muhammad Tari said.

Beit Iksa village is located in Area B but is physically isolated from surrounding areas, with residents having to cross a checkpoint to access the West Bank.

The village is located directly opposite the illegal Ramot Allon settlement, which is considered part of Jerusalem by Israel but is illegal under international law.
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