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Quarrying leaves West Bank villagers on shaky ground

Residents of the West Bank village of Kur have been complaining for a decade that a nearby stone-crushing operation is harming the environment and threatening their historic landmarks and homes.
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RAMALLAH, West Bank — The historic village of Kur, southeast of the city of Tulkarm, is known for its architectural heritage, including its domed buildings and castles, the oldest of which dates to the Mamluk era (1260-1516), while others were built by the Ottomans (1516-1916). According to residents, Kur's cultural landmarks suffer from general neglect, but what really concerns them is the threat to the buildings, and to their sanity, caused by a nearby stone-crushing operation. 

The citizens of Kur (pop. 350) have held numerous protests and demonstrations since the quarrying began, in 2006, between Beit Lid, Sfarin and their village. The protests were halted in 2008, when a court temporarily suspended the operation — which extracts large rocks and then crushes them into small chunks for use in construction materials — but resumed after the court's final decision allowed it to continue in 2012 due to a lack of evidence of harm. Residents staged their most recent protest Nov. 1 at the Council of Ministers in Ramallah.

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