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Israeli forces level private Palestinian land near Hebron, deliver demolition notices

Sept. 7, 2016 6:30 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 8, 2016 5:14 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces reportedly leveled 40 dunums of Palestinian land, uprooted more than 800 trees, and “soiled” two wells in the southern occupied West Bank village of Beit Ula, northwest of Hebron on Wednesday.

Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, Israeli forces also reportedly delivered demolition notices to three homes in the Hebron area village of Tarqumiya, claiming they were built in ‘Area C- -- the area of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control -- without proper permission.

According to the coordinator of a local committee in Beit Ula, Issa al-Emla, Israel regularly levels land, declaring them "state lands" through military decrees, without notifying the landowners, so that the Palestinian landowners won’t be able to appeal to Israeli high courts against the orders.

Al-Emla told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers leveled more than 40 dunums of agricultural lands owned by Bassam Hamdan al-Adam, Suliman Mahmoud al-Adam, Ali Mohammad al-Adam and Mahmoud Khaled al-Adam, along with soiling two wells owned by Palestinian farmers Ali al-Adam and Suliman al-Adam.

He added that Israeli forces have escalated the leveling of Palestinian lands lately, particularly agricultural lands, which al-Emla said is for the purpose of expanding illegal Israeli settlements in the area.

“Israeli forces leveled and razed hundreds of dunums of land and uprooted trees especially almond and olive trees in the northwest district of Hebron during the past years", he said.

Al-Emla demanded that the international community “uphold its legal and ethical responsibilities towards the Palestinian people against Israeli attacks.”

Separately, the Tarqumiya mayor Sami Fatafta said that Israeli forces delivered demolition notices to 3 homes in the Wadi Al-Qalamoun area, owned by Salim Qabaja, Alaa Ghazi Qaqour, Mazin Qabaja and Mohamad Qabaja, claiming they were “illegally” built in Area C.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in Palestinian territory, told Ma'an that the agency carried out "enforcement against illegal digging of a storage pool on state land plus an evacuation of  about 350 trees and plants which were planted illegally on  about -84 acres of state land." 

COGAT added that the Palestinians who petitioned the court were found to not be the landowners, adding that three demolitions orders "against illegal buildings in Tarquimiya" were handed out as the structures were built without approval of Israeli authorities in Area C. 

Since the start of 2016, 769 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished by Israeli forces, leaving at least 1,097 Palestinians displaced, according to UN documentation.
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