Israeli forces demolish Beit Jala restaurant

07:00 May 3 2012 al-Makhrour area of Beit Jala

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished a restaurant in Beit Jala on Thursday under the pretext of lacking a building permit, Wafa news agency reported.

Local residents said that bulldozers arrived in the al-Makhrour area of Beit Jala at dawn protected by soldiers.

Israeli forces then sealed off the area and surrounded the restaurant before demolishing it, local residents said. The property was owned by Ramzi Qaisyeh.

The Mayor of Beit Jala Raji Zeidan said that Israeli forces have been targeting the al-Makhrour area of Beit Jala in an effort to force residents to leave their land for settlement expansion.

The largely Christian town of Beit Jala is flanked by Gilo and Har Gilo settlements to the north and north-west.

The proximity of illegal settlements and the route of Israel's separation wall have put increasing pressure on village land, with several areas facing the threat of annexation.

In October 2011, Israeli forces issued a military order to confiscate 37,000 square meters of private land from near the Cremisan Monastery in Beit Jala.

In December, Israeli forces demolished several houses in the al-Makhrour area under the pretext of lacking building permits.

Israeli forces then demolished four ancient buildings and uprooted 52 electricity poles in al-Makhrour in April.

The area is considered a natural heritage site by the Center for Cultural Heritage Preservation but is slated to be cut off from Beit Jala by Israel's separation wall, the center says.

From 2000 to 2007, the Civil Administration approved 5 percent of the applications for building permits submitted by Palestinians in Area C.

Most Israeli settlements are located in Area C.


Israeli Bulldozers Demolish House, Restaurant in Beit Jala

by Regina Qumsieh - IMEMC & Agencies

The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported that Israeli soldiers and bulldozers moved into the Almkhrour area of Beit Jala near the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the early morning and started demolishing a family restaurant and an old house, both the property of the Qasieh family.

Eyewitnesses reported to the Palestine News Network (PNN) that more than ten bulldozers accompanied by Israeli soldiers invaded the area and stayed there for several hours. They began the demolitions at 7am.

Witnesses also said that the Israeli soldiers set up a temporary checkpoint to prevent Palestinians from reaching the area.

Israeli soldiers are targeting the Almkhor area because of its geographical importance. It is a mountainous area to the west of Beit Jala and is the only outlet for the town after the Israeli expropriation of most of the land.

So the Israeli Army prevents landowners from building, digging wells or establishing walls in the area. A few weeks ago they demolished and destroyed fifty cables that belonged to the Electricity Company of Jerusalem in addition to an old house.
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