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Israeli forces demolish Jerusalem protest village

Jan. 21, 2013 9:36 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2013 5:38 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Monday morning demolished a protest village erected by Palestinian activists last week in northwest Jerusalem to protest Israeli land confiscation.

Activists told Ma’an that Israeli troops demolished all the tents and evacuated all the activists in the the Al-Karamah (Dignity) village in Beit Iksa.

"The demolition of Bab al-Karama does not mean the end of our stand. Activists will again occupy the site on which the village was built and they will rebuild their tents when the opportunity arises," activist Nabil Hababa said.

Head of the local council of Beit Iksa Kamal Hababa told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops escorted bulldozers to the protest village. Palestinian citizens were also prevented from accessing the area.

"Israeli border police evacuated the structures, removing some 20 people who were there and confiscating the tents and equipment," an Israeli security source told Reuters.

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.

Reuters contributed to this report
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