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Israel demolishes Palestinian structures across West Bank

24 November 2010 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

The Road in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan was paved in Area C on lands marked for takeover by settlers from the adjacent outpost. Construction of the road was funded by Fayyad who also personally laid the cornerstone during a Land Day demonstration last March. Structures were also demolished today in the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem area.

Large military forces entered the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan south-west of Nablus this morning to demolish a greenhouse and an agricultural access road paved on privately owned Palestinian lands designated as Area C. The paving of the road was initiated by village residents after settlers from the nearby outpost of Havat Ya’ir tried to take over a water-spring to which the road leads.

Construction work on the road began late last March, during a Land Day protest, in defiance of Israel’s policy of preventing Palestinian construction in Area C. The demonstration and the laying of the road’s cornerstone were participated by Palestinian Prim Minister, Salam Fayyad, who also provided the funding for the project.

During the demolitions, clashes between local youth and the military developed, in which soldiers used tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets against the villagers. Israeli bulldozers also placed a new roadblock at the entrance to the road.

House demolitions were also carried today under the pretext of illegal construction in the Jordan Valley village of al-Jiftlik, where the army knocked down ten structures in the early morning, and in the village of Hizma near Jerusalem, where seven more structures were demolished – all in Area C.

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.