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Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structures across Hebron district

06:00 Oct 19 2017 al-Tuwani, Halaweh and Beit Ummar

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HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday demolished agricultural structures belonging to Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to local sources.

In the village of al-Tuwani, south of Hebron, coordinator of national and popular committees in the southern West Bank Ratib al-Jabour told Ma’an that Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure belonging to Palestinian farmer Muhammad Issa al-Yatim, under the pretext that it was built without a difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit.

Al-Jabour said that Israeli authorities are” increasing their attacks against residents and farmers of eastern Yatta to force them to leave their lands.”

In the nearby village of Halaweh, southeast of the town of Yatta, Israeli forces destroyed two Palestinian homes earlier Thursday morning.

In the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron city, Israeli forces demolished steel structures and confiscated its contents, claiming it was built without a license.

Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that Israeli forces surrounded the structures, belonging to Saber Zamel Abu Maria, and prevented locals from approaching before destroying the structures.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, said they were looking into the demolitions in al-Tuwani and Beit Ummar.

Both villages are located in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military and civilian control.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control -- are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.

According to UN documentation, 229 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished thus far in 2017 in Area C, which has displaced 298 Palestinians. In 2016, the UN recorded 1,065 demolitions across the occupied Palestinian territory.
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HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian houses in the Halaweh village, located in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to local sources.

Ratib al-Jabour, a coordinator of the National and Popular Committees in the southern West Bank told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the village Thursday morning and demolished two houses belonging to Muhammad Younis Abu Aram and Khalil Younis Abu Aram.

Al-Jabour said that Israeli authorities claimed that two houses were built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permits. He pointing out that there is an ongoing case in Israeli courts regarding the two homes, but that it was destroyed anyways.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma'an that an "enforcement was carried out this morning against two illegal constructions in the village of Halawa, which were built illegally without the required permits."

"It should be emphasized that the constructions were built in a military firing zone, and that residing in these areas is a significant risk to life. The enforcement was carried out after all the orders were served and the required approvals were obtained," the spokesperson said.

Halaweh village is located in the southern Hebron hills, and according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, is located within a closed Israeli military zone called “Firing Area 918.”

Last year, several homes in the Halaweh and the nearby Jinba village were destroyed, displacing 78 Palestinians, including 60 children.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Halaweh is one of 12 villages in the area that have been waging a legal battle for 17 years in an attempt to prevent the demolition of their village and the forcible displacement of their families so the villages can be used as Israeli army training areas.

Rights groups have said that Israeli military training zones, known as a "firing zones," are used as a pretext to fully annex portions of the occupied West Bank.

Nearly 20 percent of the occupied West Bank has been declared "firing zones" since the 1970s, but according to the UN, some 80 percent of these areas are not in fact used for military training. However, when military training does take place, Israel forces families to leave their homes for hours or days at a time until the drill is over.

According to United Nations documentation, 326 Palestinians were displaced and 238 buildings have been demolished in the West Bank since the beginning of the year as of Oct. 9. Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.


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