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Forces enter Jerusalem protest village, no clashes

Jan. 20, 2013 1:24 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2013 6:06 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces entered a Palestinian protest village newly erected in northwest Jerusalem on Sunday morning, but no confrontations were reported.

Local activist Muhammad Rabei said troops entered the al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa around 7 a.m., photographing the structures and preventing more protesters and supporters from arriving.

He said it was the third time troops had entered the area. An Israeli military spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Rabei insisted that the inhabitants will continue building a mosque in the encampment, harvesting the agricultural land, and will organize a festival for local children.

Local groups set up the new tented protest village northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, the second such initiative against Israeli settlement building in as many weeks.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces tore down the tented village Bab al-Shams, set up to protest Israel's plans to build the "E1" settlement on the land, severing the West Bank from Jerusalem.

Beit Iksa, surrounded by Israeli settlements, is set to be entirely encircled by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa's land, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem.

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