SALFIT (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities delivered evacuation notices in the villages of Deir Istiya and Deir Ballut in the western part of the occupied West Bank district of Salfit on Wednesday
Jamal al-Ahmad, coordinators of the land defense committee in Salfit, told Ma’an that Israeli forces delivered evacuation notices to Muqbil Awad and Abd al-Aziz Aqil from the village of Deir Istiya. The orders said they must vacate their lands, which are now part of an Israeli nature reserve.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces also delivered an evacuation notice in the village of Deir Ballut, demanding that a local owner close their livestock barrack after claiming that the structure was built in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli civil and military control.
The barracks had been open for at least four years.
A spokesperson of COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, was not immediately available for comment.
Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally, and placing them under the constant risk of demolitions at the hands of Israeli forces.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.
Rights groups have also outlined Israel’s use of nature reserves as a strategy to confiscate more Palestinian lands for eventual use for illegal settlements.
According to a report
released by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ) in 2015, there are 48 Israeli-controlled nature reserves on occupied Palestinian land, comprising of 12.4 percent of the total area of the occupied Palestinian territory.
“Severe restrictions are placed on people living in these reserves, including the direct demolition of Palestinian homes and structures. Following the coercive depopulation of the Palestinian presence in these reserves, the Israeli government commonly absorbs the areas as ‘state land’ so as to further illegal settlement expansion,” ARIJ stated in the report.