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Israel closes Palestinian land mapping office in Jerusalem

Office of the Arab Studies Society in East Jerusalem [Wikipedia]

Israel today closed a Palestinian office which maps and monitors the transfer of Palestinian land to Israelis, ransacking it and detaining its director, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Image of Khalil Al-Tafakji [maannews]

Image of Khalil Al-Tafakji [maannews]

A number of intelligence and army soldiers stormed the East Jerusalem office of the Arab Studies Society and arrested the director of its Mapping and Geographic Information Systems Department, Khalil Al-Tafakji.

Orient House, where the offices are located, has been regularly broken into and sealed off by the Israeli military since it was first closed down in 1988. This time, the closure order was filed by the Israeli minister of public security, the agency said.

Read: Israeli government funding illegal projects on private Palestinian land

The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the Israeli actions as "a stark violation of mutual agreements and a continuation of the judaising process of the city".

A press statement released by the foreign ministry office said the closure adds to Israel's "aggressive war on the Palestinian existence" in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs, and aims to pressure Palestinians to leave the area voluntarily.

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