Israeli Forces Demolish Mosque as West Bank Demolitions Wave Continues for Second Day in a Raw
Israeli forces demolished Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills today in what seems as a wave of demolitions following yesterday's demolitions all across the West Bank.
After carrying demolitions in the villages of Qarawat Bani Hassan near Salfeet, al-Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley and Hizma near Jerusalem yesterday, Israeli bulldozers returned to the Jordan Valley today. At 6:30 this morning, Israeli Civil Administration bulldozers accompanied by soldiers and armored military jeeps entered the Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Yarza, east of Tubas, and demolished the village's mosque, a house and six animal shelters. The demolitions rendered eleven people homeless.
Demolitions continued later in the morning in the South Hebron Hills village of al-Rifayaia, east of Yatta, where at 8:15 AM Israeli forces demolished a 250 meter house. The house was home to two families of twenty people, 16 of them minors.
Over 60 percent of the West Bank is currently classified as Area C, in which, under the Oslo accords, Israel has complete control, over both civil and security issues. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) some 70 percent of Area C, or approximately 44 percent of the West Bank, has been largely designated for the use of Israeli settlements or the Israeli military. The Israeli authorities generally allow Palestinian construction only within the boundaries of an Israeli-approved plan and these cover less than one percent of Area C, much of which is already built-up. As a result, Palestinians are left with no choice but to build “illegally” and risk demolition of their structures and displacement.
According to information released by the Israeli State Attorney’s Office in early December 2009, approximately 2,450 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C have been demolished due to lack of permit over the course of the past 12 years.