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Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structures across Hebron district

Oct. 19, 2017 2:56 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 20, 2017 2:21 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday demolished agricultural structures belonging to Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to local sources.

In the village of al-Tuwani, south of Hebron, coordinator of national and popular committees in the southern West Bank Ratib al-Jabour told Ma’an that Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure belonging to Palestinian farmer Muhammad Issa al-Yatim, under the pretext that it was built without a difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit.

Al-Jabour said that Israeli authorities are” increasing their attacks against residents and farmers of eastern Yatta to force them to leave their lands.”

In the nearby village of Halaweh, southeast of the town of Yatta, Israeli forces destroyed two Palestinian homes earlier Thursday morning.

In the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron city, Israeli forces demolished steel structures and confiscated its contents, claiming it was built without a license.

Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that Israeli forces surrounded the structures, belonging to Saber Zamel Abu Maria, and prevented locals from approaching before destroying the structures.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, said they were looking into the demolitions in al-Tuwani and Beit Ummar.

Both villages are located in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military and civilian control.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including 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.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control -- are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.

According to UN documentation, 229 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished thus far in 2017 in Area C, which has displaced 298 Palestinians. In 2016, the UN recorded 1,065 demolitions across the occupied Palestinian territory.

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