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Demolition of Palestinian buildings ordered in Jordan Valley

18 May 2009

On 4 March, 2009, Israeli occupation forces issued a demolition order for 8 farm houses and the Mosque of Twaeel in the Jordan valley. Israel claims the buildings are in Area C and therefore need building permits. The electricity will be cut as well. The eviction date was set to 26 March, 2009.

Before 26 March 2009, the Municipality of Aqraba prepared documents to apply for permits for the farmers and filed the case with the Jerusalem Center for Legal Help. The farmers are still waiting for the verdict. If the Jerusalem Center for Legal Help cannot settle this issue, then the case will be filed with the Israeli High court, according to the mayor of Agraba.

The total population of Twaeel is about 60. Most of the families make their living as farmers; cultivating olive trees, various crops and raising sheep. Their houses are small, simple structures built with rocks or bricks with shelters next to them for their livestock. They are widely dispersed throughout this valley. Palestinian farmers have owned this land since before the Israeli occupation.

According to OCHA, over 400 Palestinian towns or villages (excluding East Jerusalem) have at least part of their land in Area C, which covers approximately 62% of the West Bank territory. Over 94% of applications for building permits in Area C, submitted to the Israeli authorities by Palestinians between January 2000 and September 2007, were denied. During this period 5,000 demolition orders were issued, and over 1,600 Palestinian buildings were demolished.