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Protesters block entrance to Gush Etzion settlement

Jan. 13, 2014 1:37 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 14, 2014 1:42 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Protesters blocked the main entrance to an Israeli settlement near Bethlehem on Monday in order to remind settlers that their homes were built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land.

A spokesperson for the Bethlehem region's popular campaign against the wall and settlements told a Ma'an reporter that more than 30 Palestinian and international activists blocked the entrance to Elazar settlement, which is a part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

Muhammad Brejiyeh highlighted that the settlement was built illegally on private Palestinian lands south of Bethlehem.

Such protests, he added, are held to reiterate that settlers are unwelcome on Palestinian lands. Similar activities will continue across the West Bank to protest the ongoing Israeli occupation's policy of expanding settlements and confiscating Palestinian lands, added Brijiyeh.

The activists also planted olive trees in a private Palestinian field near the settlement.

The protest caused a major traffic jam until Israeli forces dispersed demonstrators, detaining three Palestinian activists in the process.

Participants in the protest identified them as Munthir Amirah, Mazin al-Azzah and Sari al-Azzah.

Elazar was built in 1975 on land confiscated from a number of Palestinian families in nearby al-Khader.

A 2007 report by Israeli organization Peace Now says that 32 percent of the settlement land sits directly on top of private Palestinian property.

Many settlements are also built atop of private Palestinian land that has been previously declared "state land" and confiscated.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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