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Farming families in West Bank retreat to caves as settlers encircle land

In the southern West Bank near the separation wall lies the village of Khirbet al-Radhim, where seven Palestinian families live without roads, electricity or water and report constant harassent by the Israeli authorities and settlers.

RAMALLAH, West Bank — “All this land is mine. I inherited it from my grandfather and father, and it is registered from the Ottoman days with document proof,” said Issa Abu Kebash, pointing to land extending over the Khirbet al-Radhim mountaintop. Abu Kebash, 74, said his land is at risk of confiscation by the Israeli authorities because it is located near the Green Line, the separating border between the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967 and those occupied in 1948.

Abu Kebash’s land, south of the town of Samou in the southern West Bank, is within Area C, which is under Israeli security and administrative control. It is surrounded by settlements on three sides, and the fourth is the separation wall. He said it's become a prison for his family and six other families still living there. His family lives in a cave known locally as Tur. One of the other families has its own cave as well.

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