HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Tuesday demolished an agricultural water tank and structure in the southern occupied West Bank Hebron-area town of Idhna, for building without a license in ‘Area C’ -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control.
The Idhna municipality said in a statement that Israeli bulldozers escorted by several military jeeps demolished a 500 square-meter space water tank used for agricultural purposes and an “agricultural room” belonging to Moussa Ahmad Muhammad Farajallah in the Uyoun al-Bass area of the town.
The statement added that Farajallah has had an open case regarding the demolished structures in an Israeli court since 2011, and that he was “shocked” by the demolition, which took place without prior notice.
In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for COGAT, the agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, confirmed the demolition, saying that "The enforcement was carried out after all the necessary warrants were submitted and during an inspection tour that took place there a few days ago it was said to the owner of the building that the building would be demolished.
"We would note that the structure owner has been asked several times to submit a detailed outline plans to examine the possibility of regulating the illegal construction, but the documents were not submitted and therefore enforcement was carried out."
All building in Area C, whether by Palestinians or Jewish settlers, comes under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Administration, which has full control over all zoning and planning issues.
In practice, almost all Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected, with the Civil Administration granting only a handful of permits.
Demolitions of Palestinian structures and homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge this year, with the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 well exceeding the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.
At least 1,569 Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of 2016 -- including 239 in East Jerusalem -- as a result of demolitions in the occupied territory, compared to 757 Palestinians displaced over the entirety of 2015, according to UN documentation.