Several Israeli army vehicles, accompanied by three bulldozers / drills, invaded the village of Funduq near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia at the early hours of Wednesday morning.  Within minutes, bulldozers started to demolish one house and several agricultural structures between the villages of Funduq and Hajja, local sources reported.

The house was under construction and planned to house a family.  The owner, Salim Odeh said he had spent most of his savings to build this house for his family.  He added that he stopped building after receiving a demolition order and fulfilled all the requirements to get a permit for the house, but he was told there is no way to “legalize” it and his appeal against the demolition order was subsequently rejected by the Israeli court.

An international organization in the nearby Salfit district, called the International Women Peace Service (IWPS), who is well informed of the case, said all the demolished structures were on privately owned land, and the owners tried in vain to get permits to build on their own land. The Israeli authorities block the expansion of the villages in the area, which is slated as “Area C” under the Oslo Accords, thus preventing people from earning a living or building houses to ease the crowded living conditions inside the village.

IWPS added that Wednesday’s demolitions are part of a larger campaign of house demolitions in the villages of Funduq, Hajja and Jinsafut.

IWPS said in a press release issued on Wednesday that another 30 houses, including up to 20-year-old houses inhabited by families with children, houses that are still under construction, agricultural barracks and structures, a well, a gas station and work shops, are currently under threat of demolition.

On February 22nd 2006 a house under construction that was planned to contain agricultural facilities as well as several family apartments was demolished. The owner, who had invested about 200 000 NIS, received a demolition order in April 2005 and was in contact with lawyers and the Israeli Military Administration. He was in the process of filing a petition against the demolition order, but was preempted by the demolition. Some agricultural structures were demolished on the same day, IWPS added.

The IWPS witnesses, documents and publicizes human rights abuses and peacefully intervenes to prevent them and is located in Hares near Salift in the West Bank and has been active since 2002.