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Israel annexes 76 dunums of land near Bethlehem

12:00 Jan 19 2012 al-Khas

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities annexed 76 dunums of land from a village east of Bethlehem on Thursday, local officials said.

Head of al-Khas village council Khader Hamdan said that the land was taken on the basis that it is absentee property, the official PA news agency Wafa reported.

Villagers had not been able to access the land since 2007 due to the separation wall, he added.

Landowners have submitted an appeal against the decision, Hamdan said.

When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and "tantamount to annexation."
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