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Israeli forces seal Salfit-area village, preventing residents from going in or out

Jan. 12, 2017 9:34 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 15, 2017 6:44 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces closed all entrances of the village of Marda in the northern occupied West Bank Salfit district on Thursday evening, preventing Palestinian residents from leaving or entering the village.

Ahmad Ibdah, a resident of Marda, told Ma’an that Israeli forces prevented him from going into the village after closing all the iron gates at the entrances of the village.

Ibdah said a soldier told him that the closure would be maintained until further notice, and was being enforced because of rocks being thrown from the area at passing Israeli settler vehicles.

Ibdah added that the village was constantly raided by Israeli soldiers for alleged rock-throwing incidents, and that Israeli forces have closed the iron gates of the village for days, opening them only after intervention by the Palestinian liaison.

The Marda village is surrounded by a separation fence from all sides in order to separate the village from the nearby illegal Ariel settlement. 

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone-throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B'Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, "93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months."

Palestinian stone throwers face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing a law in 2015 mandating 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.

In addition to long prison sentences, Palestinians accused of stone throwing, or those accused of being affiliated with stone throwers, face arbitrary punishments in the form of road closures and the sealing of entire villages, resulting in serious economic consequences and effects on mobility.
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