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West Bank villagers hold settlers 'captive'

Palestinians from Qusra village near Nablus on Jan. 7 apprehended at least 18 settlers and held them captive after they raided Qusra lands, attacked a youth, and attempted to uproot olive trees. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinan Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an News Agency that the settlers came from the "illegal" outpost of Yesh Kodesh, and that a similar clash took place at the nearby village of Jalud. The settlers were held for several hours before being turned over to the IDF following mediation by Palestinian liaison officials. Some were beaten while being held by the villagers. The settlers apparently undertook the raid as a "price tag" attack after the IDF destroyed vineyards which had been illegally planted on Palestinian lands. MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu) blasted Defense Secretary Moshe Ya'alon, saying he was "to blame" for the violence. (Ma'anArutz ShevaYNet, Jan. 7)

On Jan. 5, a Palestinian man died at an Israeli checkpoint in the northern West Bank while on his way to his job in Israel. Witnesses told Ma'an that 59-year-old Adel Muhammad Yakoub from the northern West Bank village of Balaa died as a result of extreme overcrowding in the holding area of the Ephraim/Taybeh checkpoint. Some 10,000 Palestinian workers cross through the checkpoint every day, and the slow inspection procedures cause dangerous levels of overcrowding. The victim left behind a wife and seven children, aged 11-16. He is reported to have suffered from heart disease. (Ma'an, Jan. 7)

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