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Israeli forces dismantle E1 protest village

March 24, 2013 3:46 P.M. (Updated: March 25, 2013 5:24 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday dismantled a protest village set up by Palestinian activists east of Jerusalem last week.

Israeli forces raided the Ahfad Younis village in Eizariya early Sunday, witnesses told Ma'an, forcibly removing around 50 people from the area.

They detained eight people, including Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouthi, and transferred them to Maale Adumim settlement.

Four people from Jenin were arrested, one from Bilin, one from Bethlehem and one person from Ramallah, witnesses said.

"The Israeli occupation prevents us from approaching our land while settlers are allowed to take control of it," Barghouthi said, vowing that Palestinians would re-build the village.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said 200 Israeli police officers moved into the area early on Sunday and removed people at the scene.

Two men and a woman were arrested during the incident, with all equipment and people removed from the area, Rosenfeld said.

Activists set up Ahfad Younis on a hillside near the site of the Bab al-Shams protest village last week, as US President Barack Obama arrived in Israel.

In a statement, the activists described the initiative as “first, to claim our right as Palestinians to return to our lands and villages, second, to claim our sovereignty over our lands without permission from anyone."

The activists said it aimed to highlight their opposition to the Obama administration's policies in the region, saying that it has been "complicit in Israeli occupation and colonialism."

"An administration that used the veto 43 times ... in support of Israel and against Palestinian rights, an administration that grants military aid to Israel of over three billion dollars annually, can’t have any positive contribution to achieve justice," the statement said.

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