Palestinian family of 7 in Hebron Hills faces imminent displacement by Israel

12:00 Aug 21 2016 al-Tuwani

Palestinian family of 7 in Hebron Hills faces imminent displacement by Israel
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Seven Palestinians face imminent displacement after Israeli forces delivered a demolition warrant for their home on Sunday, which is located inside the official village limits of al-Tuwani in the vulnerable Southern Hebron Hills region of the occupied West Bank.

Al-Tuwani village council head Nasser al-Adra told Ma’an that Israeli forces notified Kamil Mousa al-Rabai and his family for a second time that their 120-square-meter house would be demolished.

The warrant said that the house would be demolished in seven days, according to al-Adra.

“This would be the first time Israeli forces demolish a house located within the official community master plan,” al-Adra told Ma’an. “This new policy is a dangerous escalation against al-Tuwani and its neighboring villages and hamlets.”

Separately, Israeli forces also escorted bulldozers which closed the road between al-Tuwani and the village of al-Maqfara to its immediate south.
In response to an inquiry, a spokesperson for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is responsible for implementing Israeli government policy in the occupied West Bank, did not comment on the the road closures.

The spokesperson told Ma’an that they needed “the case number or a picture of the warrant” to confirm that a demolition order had in fact been delivered to al-Rabai, after being informed of the identity of the owner, the size of the structure, and the location of the village, which has some 326 residents.

The village of al-Tuwani is located 14 kilometers south of Hebron City inside Area C -- the some 60 percent of the West bank under full Israeli military control.

Residents of the village say Israel does not allow any building permits and demolishes homes and infrastructure, while supporting Israeli settlements in the area. Most residents of al-Tuwani and its surrounding villages live in caves or temporary structures built beside the caves.
Just south of al-Tuwani, Israel has established a closed military zone where the state wants to evict eight Palestinian villages to make way for a army training ground.

Al-Tuwani has had some 200 dunams (approximately 50 acres) of its land confiscated by Israel, and is surrounded by three Israeli settlements and one bypass road from four sides.

Settlers regularly prevent villagers in al-Tuwani from grazing their livestock, who risk violent attacks if they approach areas near the settlements and outposts.

The demolitions orders came as the nearby village of Susiya faces imminent demolition by the state of Israel, as villagers await a decision by ultra-right Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to determine whether to continue the dialogue between residents and the Israeli Civil Administration, which had been ongoing with the goal of legalizing a master plan for the village.

On Thursday, Lieberman requested to the Israeli Supreme Court to delay the decision until Nov. 15, after he was ordered by the court to submit his position by last week.

Meanwhile, the court decided, there would be no freeze on demolitions, meaning about 30 percent of the village is under risk of imminent demolition, according to the Israeli NGO Rabbis For Human Rights, which had been assisting Susiya’s residents in their appeal.

The latest setback in Susiya’s battle for legal recognition comes after Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a report last month revealing that Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, in what rights groups argue is a worrying indicator that Israel intends to annex the entirety of Area C.
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