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Israel to Seize Hundreds of dunums of West Bank Land

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JERUSALEM, December 29, 2012 (WAFA) The Israeli authorities Friday issued a number of notices to seize 456 dunums of land in the village of Beit Iksa northwest of Jerusalem to build a barrier that will separate the West Bank village from the nearby settlement of Ramot, said local officials.

Head of Beit Iksa village council, Kamal Hababa, said village residents were shocked when they saw the notices distributed on the outskirts of the village that say the Israeli army plans to seize a large area of mostly agricultural land to build the controversial barrier on it.

He said that, according to the notices, the residents were instructed to take part in a tour with Israeli officers on Sunday on the proposed route of the barrier which will cut off the village from most of its land.

Hababa said the residents have decided not to take part in the tour and instead they will confront the soldiers if they come to the village.

The notices were issued by the chief of the Israeli armys central command, Nitzan Alon, who claimed that seizing the land is strictly for security reasons and as protection for the Jewish settlers in the area.

The barrier, if commenced, will surround the village from all sides cutting off over 12,000 dunums of land planted with olive and almond trees and grape vineyards.

The village of Beit Iksa, home to nearly 2,000 people, is already isolated from its surroundings with a checkpoint separating it from the nearby village of Biddu.

Mohammad Tari, an official in the Jerusalem governorate, told the media that this new plan would leave Beit Iksa residents with only 300 dunums for any growth in their village.

The new barrier would suffocate the village, he said, and would separate it from the city of Jerusalem and isolate it from the West Bank.

M.H./M.S.

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