Israeli forces prevent farmers from accessing land in Hebron

12:00 Jul 7 2015 Beit Ummar (Wadi Abut al-Rish area)

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces prevented Palestinian farmers from accessing their land in Wadi Abu al-Rish in northern Beit Ummar on Tuesday, a local popular committee said.

Muhammad Ayad Awad, spokesman for the popular committee of Beit Ummar, said Muhammad Abd al-Hamid Jaber al-Sleibi and his family were forced from their land at gunpoint by Israeli forces on the basis that they had entered the area illegally.

The family was told to coordinate permission with Israel's Civil Administration to access their agricultural land.

Al-Sleibi said that he had obtained a court order two years ago to enter the land without coordination and had set up a fence to separate his land from a nearby illegal Israeli settlement.

An Israeli spokesperson for COGAT told Ma'an they were not familiar with the incident.

Tuesday's incident is the latest for members of the al-Sleibi family, three of whom were assaulted in March by settlers living in the nearby settlement of Beit Ayn.

In the year prior, Beit Ayn residents uprooted al-Sleibi's olive and grape trees from his private land under the armed protection of Israeli forces.

Beit Ayn is part of the Etzion settlement bloc, comprised of several Jewish-only settlements south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem built in contravention of international law, largely at the expense of Palestinian locals.

Current members of the Israeli Knesset have proposed to annex the bloc to Israel.
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