Continued Demolitions in Jordan Valley, Jerusalem

06 Feb
7:38 AM

Israeli forces, on Thursday, demolished five homes and four other Palestinian-owned structures in the Jordan Valley town of Tammun, in the occupied West Bank.A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Ma’an News Agency that Israel’s Civil Administration, as well as security forces, demolished the structures because they were built illegally ‘without necessary permits.’

‘As part of this enforcement, five residential tents and three buildings that were used as sheds, and a tin construction used as a restroom were demolished,’ COGAT said.

Images sent by COGAT show a European Union symbol on the side of the structures, suggesting they may have been internationally donated.

Israel routinely demolishes “illegally built” Palestinian homes and structures in areas under military occupation, where building permits are difficult for Palestinians to obtain.

In the last week of January alone, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documented the destruction 42 of Palestinian-owned structures across the occupied Palestinian territory. The demolitions displaced 168 people, including 94 children.

Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley — nearly all of which lies under complete Israeli control in Area C — are particularly vulnerable and have for decades faced pressure from Israeli authorities to leave the area.

Last month, the Israeli army forcibly displaced a Palestinian herding community known as Khirbet al-Ras al-Ahmar for nine hours, during a military training exercise.

The community is one of at least 88 Palestinian Bedouin herding communities who reside in areas designated by the Israeli authorities as closed military zones intended to be used for military training, according to the UNOCHA.

Israeli authorities, on Thursday, also demolished residential tents and animal barns village of Mekassar, in the northern Jordan Valley, as well as three agricultural structures in the village of Bil’in, near Ramallah, according to local sources.

Aref Daraghmeh, head of the local council of al-Maleh area, told WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency that an Israeli army force broke into the village in the early morning hours, before proceeding to demolish animal barns and tents used by local Palestinian Bedouins, again under the pretext of construction without a permit.

Meanwhile, witnesses said that the Israeli army broke into the village of Bal’in, west of Ramallah, and proceeded to demolish three structures used by local Palestinian villages for agricultural purposes, in addition to another room outside a swimming pool in the village.

Soldiers also cordoned off the area and used teargas canisters and light-bombs during the offensive in Bil’in.

Both villages are located in Area C in the West Bank, under complete Israeli military and civil control.

Over the course of 2015, Israel demolished 521 structures in Area C as well as in occupied East Jerusalem, displacing 636 people, according to the UNOCHA.

The vast majority of these demolitions were carried out on the grounds of construction without a permit. Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of applications for building permits in Area C were approved by Israeli occupation authorities, UNOCHA further reports.

Also on Thrusday, Israeli authorities demolished a privately owned Palestinian hall in the town of al-Ezariya, east of Jerusalem, also under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to local sources.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian youth in the nearby town of Abu Dis, shortly after troops raided a building in the town.

Soldiers used teargas and toxic gas canisters, stun grenades and firebombs to disperse the protesting youth, but there were no reports of human casualties.

According to the Ministry of Health, at least 168 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the beginning of unrest in the occupied Palestinian territories in early October 2015.

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