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April 20, 2014

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Israel evacuates protests from key West Bank site

Updated Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | 12:23 a.m.

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military has removed Palestinian activists protesting at a deserted village in the West Bank whose final status is a central issue in U.S.-mediated peace talks with Israel.

Hundreds of activists had been demonstrating for a week at the site of Ein Hijleh, a Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley abandoned after Israel captured the land from Jordan in the 1967 war.

Abdallah Abu Rahmeh, a protest organizer, said soldiers raided the site early Friday.

The military said troops had called on the activists to leave the area and evacuated them after they refused.

The fate of the strategic Jordan Valley is a central issue in peace talks. Israel wants to keep a security presence there after a deal is reached, citing security concerns. Palestinians reject that.