Saturday, March 12, 2016

Israel demolishes 41 Palestinian buildings in West Bank village

Israel demolished 41 structures in Khirbet Tana on the outskirts of Nablus city in the West Bank. Structures destroyed include an elementary school.

The current demolition is one of the largest on record since 2009. Ten families were displaced with a total of 36 members including 11 children, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for occupied Palestinian Territory. Khirbet Tana is a community of about 250 people most of whom rely on herding and agriculture for their livelihood. Much of the infrastructure of the community is now demolished. As well as an elementary school, 11 homes were destroyed, five common bathrooms, one kitchen and 18 farming structures. A solar system and two communal ovens were also demolished. Twelve of the structures destroyed belonged to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Red Crescent. The buildings were demolished because they all lacked an Israeli-issued building permit. Khirbet Tana is located in a closed military zone. Palestinians are repeatedly denied building permits since Khirbet Tana is close to an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) firing zone.
The UN claims around 18 percent of the West Bank is considered to be "firing zones." In such areas structures continue to be built and regularly taken down again. OCHA said: “Since the beginning of 2016, the Israeli forces have destroyed or dismantled 323 homes and other structures across the West Bank... displacing almost 440 Palestinians.” Of those structures, 108 were provided as humanitarian assistance to families in need.
Robert Piper, Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied territories said:
“International law is clear – Palestinians in the West Bank have the right to adequate housing and the right to receive humanitarian assistance. As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect these rights.”
Another Palestinian home was razed recently in East Jerusalem as is described in Haaretz. The report notes this is the first time in eight months there has been such a demolition and it ended an unofficial freeze of these demolitions that are internationally condemned. However, there have been demolitions in area E1 of the West Bank as reported in Al Jazeera in January. The home was in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Standing outside her demolished dwelling Linda al-Rajabi shared with her husband and five children said: "They can build hundreds of settlements but I'm not entitled to live in a shack?" Israel's Jerusalem municipality said the home was built without a city permit.
Washington has publicly urged Israel not to demolish homes built without permits. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine but the Israelis regard it as part of Israel. Palestinians maintain that it is impossible to obtain construction approval from Israeli authorities. In response to the demolition a US official said:"The United States has made clear that it disagrees with some Government of Israel actions in Jerusalem that affect Palestinians in areas such as housing, including home demolitions, and has urged all parties to avoid actions that could undermine trust. "This underscores the need for a permanent status agreement that resolves all outstanding issues between the parties, including Jerusalem, and which results in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."As well as the inhabited house, the Israelis demolished two unfinished Palestinian homes and part of a factory also in East Jerusalem.


No comments: