Israeli forces demolished Palestinian agricultural and commercial buildings in the Hizma neighborhood of Jerusalem, Monday morning.

Witnesses told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli forces, escorting staff from the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, raided Hizma, surrounding agricultural and commercial buildings on the outskirts of the town. Sources added that Israeli forces razed the land to “prevent owners from rebuilding.”

Samer Salah al-Din, head of the Hizma local council, said that Israeli forces demolished agricultural structures, stone factories and a local shop, under the pretext that the structures were built without the extremely difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.

The demolished structures provide economic lifelines to twenty Palestinian families. Moreover, owners suffered massive losses that have been estimated at more than 1.5 million shekels.

Salah al-Din added that the Israeli municipality had sent demolition notices to five houses in the same neighborhood two weeks ago; the notices included that the houses were built 40-50 years ago but were allegedly built without permits.

According to a statement made by the owners of the commercial buildings in the area, “this is the fifth time that these buildings have been demolished, and every time they are rebuilt, Israeli forces unexpectedly demolish without warning. Rebuilding is a necessity since it is the only source of financial support.”

Roughly 90 percent of the total neighborhood area, was classified as Area C, where Israel retains full control over security and civil administration.

In Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control, Palestinian construction and land management is prohibited unless through consent or authorization by the Israeli Civil Administration.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.

(AFP archive mage)