Israel demolishes West Bank homes, water wells

A woman from the 24-member Palestinian Ghaith family stands with the rubble of her home destroyed by Israeli forces under the pretext that it was built without a permit in the mostly Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur on 29 April 2013. (Photo: AFP - Ahmad Gharabli)

Published Monday, April 29, 2013

Israeli forces on Monday demolished Palestinian homes and water wells in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as settlers confiscated land near Hebron to build a new outpost, local media reported.

In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces razed two apartments in the Tur neighborhood after several attempts by the owners to reverse the demolition order failed.

The authorities evicted 24 members of the Ghaith family, including five children and an elderly woman, from the two apartments ahead of the demolition, Rushi Ghaith, one of the owners, told Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

The apartments were scheduled for demolition in December but the family secured a court-ordered injunction to stop it from going ahead, Ghaith said.

The Ghaith family lawyer said they had successfully stalled attempts to raze the apartments since September 2004, when Israeli authorities handed down the demolition notice because the home was built without a licensing permit. The family's case to reverse the demolition order is ongoing.

Ghaith said the family has been fined 80,000 Israeli shekels (about $22,000) since the case began.

Meanwhile Israeli soldiers demolished water wells south of Hebron in al-Fawar refugee camp, as settlers from the nearby Ma’oun settlement seized land west of Yatta in preparation for the establishment of new outposts.

Abdul Hadi Hantash, an expert on settlement policies in the southern West Bank, said that the Ma’oun settlers seized land of one of the hills southwest of their original outpost.

Hantash told reporters that the wells the soldiers destroyed were used for agricultural purposes and irrigation.

He added that the continued confiscation of land and demolition of Palestinian structures, including the bulldozing of homes and uprooting of trees, are part of the Israeli government’s illegal settlement expansion program.

Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures in the occupied West Bank occur almost daily under the pretext of building without a permit.

According to the United Nations, 33 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, which are difficult to obtain, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement.

Roughly 94 percent of Palestinian applications for building permits are rejected, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

The group estimates that Israeli authorities have demolished about 27,000 Palestinian structures in the West Bank since 1967.

(Ma’an, Wafa, Al-Akhbar)

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