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Israeli forces demolish 4 apartment buildings in Jerusalem-area village

April 4, 2017 1:42 P.M. (Updated: April 5, 2017 9:41 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities demolished several Palestinian-owned structures in the village of al-Zaayyem in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, including three inhabited apartment buildings, an agricultural shed, and five retaining walls.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that police and border police forces escorted Israeli officials, "who enforced court orders obtained by the (Israeli) Ministry of Finance to demolish five structures built without legal permits."

The apartment buildings’ owners -- Othman Abu Sbeitan, Ahmad Shibr, and Ayman al-Dayah -- told Ma’an that Israeli forces demolished four residential apartment buildings, one of which was under construction. The three inhabited apartment buildings were comprised of two, three, and eight units -- a total of 13 homes.

According to the owners, bulldozers under heavily armed protection stormed the village and blockaded the Sheikh Anbar neighborhood as bulldozers started to tear down the structures.

Israeli forces also demolished five retailing walls belonging to the Natsheh, al-Abbasi, and Alqam families, as well as an agricultural shed belonging to the Alqam family, and delivered a demolition warrant to Issa Imtur for a four-unit apartment building he owns in the village.

According to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), 96 percent of al-Zaayyem’s lands are located in Area C -- the 60 percent of the West Bank under complete Israeli military control.

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.

According to UN documentation, 140 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished so far this year in Area C, displacing 222 people. In 2016, 903 structures were demolished in the occupied West Bank, displacing 1,347 Palestinians.

Meanwhile, 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.
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