Watch: Bethlehem village blockaded by Israeli forces
Published Sunday 11/05/2014 (updated) 12/05/2014 12:38
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces have blocked the main entrances to a southern West Bank village since Saturday night, locals said, impeding villagers' ability to travel freely.
Locals in the village of Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem told Ma'an on Tuesday that Israeli forces had shut the roads in and out of the village by constructing large earth mounds on them.
Locals said that they were unsure of the reasons behind what they called the "collective punishment" of the village, highlighting that the Israeli authorities had cited security reasons without giving any explanation.
As a result of the closure, residents need to take bypass routes through the nearby al-Arrub refugee camp or Tuqu village. However, these routes are bumpy mountainous paths unqualified as roads.
The town has a population of about 15,000 many of whom leave every day to work outside. In addition, the town does not have a hospital or a major medical center, and so access to Bethlehem, about 10 kilometers to the north, is important for healthcare and emergencies.
The town is also known for stone factories and quarries, and the closure of the main road creates a serious problem for truck drivers who need to travel back and forth every day.
Furthermore, dozens of teachers who work at several public schools in the town come from other cities and village in Bethlehem district every day.