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Land threatened by settler outpost near Bethlehem

April 11, 2015 11:33 A.M. (Updated: April 13, 2015 3:40 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces razed lands near al-Khader south of Bethlehem earlier this week in order to build a road to a new settlement, with 400 dunums of land threatened with future construction of a settlement outpost, according to Palestinian media.

Israeli settlers began to create the bypass road near the illegal settlement outpost Sidi Bou'ez close to al-Khader, local sources told Wafa news Thursday.

The settlers were eventually forced by local residents to stop their work.

Over 400 dunums of Palestinian land is now threatened with confiscation if the road and outpost are completed, according to Al Quds news.

The town of al-Khader has lost significant amounts of private land to Israeli forces and settlers over the years.

In June 2014, Israeli forces razed lands belonging to Palestinians in the area in order to connect the nearby Efrat settlement to others nearby, Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the popular committee against the wall and settlements in the village of al-Khader told Ma'an at the time.

After the incident, Salah told Ma'an that acts of razing and leveling lands near al-Khader had been occurring "constantly," highlighting that Israeli forces have frequently prevented local farmers from reaching their lands.

The settlement of Elazar was built in 1975 on land confiscated from a number of Palestinian families in nearby al-Khader, with 32 percent of the settlement land sitting directly on top of private Palestinian property, according to Israeli human rights group Peace Now.

Bypass roads and the construction of settlements are one of many obstacles inhibiting Palestinian movement throughout the West Bank.

Israeli authorities frequently establish bypass roads enabling Israel traffic, generally connecting illegal settlements, to bypass areas that passed through Palestinian jurisdiction.

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