NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home and an agricultural structure made of metal sheets on Tuesday morning in Khirbet al-Tawil, located in the Jordan Valley on the outskirts of the northern occupied West Bank village of Aqraba.
Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that the properties belonged to Ahmad Muhammad Hamdan Bani Fadel.
Daghlas said that Israeli forces intended to carry out more demolitions in the area, but were forced to suspend their operation when the Israeli bulldozer broke down.
A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma'an that "enforcement (sic) was carried out this morning against four illegal structures that were built without the required permits in Khirbet al-Tawil."
Khirbet al-Tawil is located in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control where the majority of Israeli demolitions are carried out.
Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing Palestinian communities to build illegally, and placing them under the constant risk of demolitions at the hands of Israeli forces.
Hundreds of the town’s residents have been displaced over the years by demolitions carried out under the pretext that the structures lacked permits.
Not only is the village located in Area C, it is also situated within the so-called closed military zone of the Jordan Valley, where thousands of dunams of Palestinian land has been confiscated for the alleged used of Israeli army training operations, thus preventing Palestinians from accessing their land.
The community is also one of dozens of shepherding communities in the Jordan Valley currently under threat of expulsion, according to Israeli NGO B’Tselem. The group says the town is home to 113 permanent residents, including 62 children, and some 100 “seasonal residents,” all who have lived at the site for decades.
A recent report by B’Tselem argued that under the guise of a "temporary military occupation," Israel has been "using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements," estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.
Two weeks ago, following a demolition campaign that left 150 Palestinians homeless in 72 hours, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said, “The increase in demolitions that we faced in 2016 appears to be continuing this year as well, regrettably.”
“These demolitions are an integral part of the systematic and institutionalized colonial regime that sustains the Israeli occupation and works towards making it permanent,” the statement said, arguing that “It is precisely these illegal acts that compelled the United Nations Security Council to adopt Resolution 2334.”