Israeli forces have ordered several Palestinians working on their houses in the village of al-Khader, to the south of Bethlehem, to stop construction, under the pretext of ‘building without a permit’, according to local mayor, Tawfiq Salah.Mr. Salah said, according to WAFA Palestinian News Agency, that Israeli forces (along with staff from ‘civil administration’) served land owners with notices ordering them to stop work,
giving the owners until September to either straighten out their legal status or be held legally accountable.
According to UN statistics, Israeli authorities demolished and destroyed more than 500 Palestinian homes and structures in 2013 alone, resulting in the displacement of more than 850 Palestinians.
Statistics from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions reveal that at least 27,000 homes and structures have been demolished by Israel since it first began occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
While Tel Aviv continues to approve thousands of units for Jewish settlers (over 550,000) in teh region, it rarely grants the Palestinians in and around Jerusalem permits to construct homes, or even to fix, modify and expand existing homes and property.
Just Thursday, Israeli settlers uprooted around 50 Palestinian-owned trees in the village of Deir Nizam, to the northwest of Ramallah, according to local sources.
Witnesses told WAFA that settlers from the illegal Israeli colony known as ‘Halmish’ uprooted around 35 olive trees, in addition to 15 almond and cherry trees also owned by local residents, as a prelude to the seizure of 8 dunams of agricultural lands, with the intent of settlement expansion.
The area has apparently been subjected to repeated settler attacks over the course of the past five years. No less than 500 fruitful trees have been destroyed by settlers in this area, during this period.