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Israeli forces deliver demolition orders to 7 Palestinian homes west of Salfit

April 2, 2017 5:38 P.M. (Updated: April 4, 2017 5:49 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces delivered an order to demolish seven Palestinian homes in the village of Deir Ballut west of Salfit in the central occupied West Bank earlier this week, the owner told Ma'an on Sunday morning.

The structures are located in the Abu al-Raish area, south of central Deir Ballut, near where Israel plans to build a section of its illegal separation wall.

The owner of the properties, Muhammad Shahbir, told Ma’an that forces from Israel’s Civil Administration raided the area and delivered demolition notices for the buildings, noting that demolition orders for the same seven structures had been delivered several times before.

Shahbir said that Israeli forces told him that the warrants issued Sunday morning would be the final warning, and that they ordered Shahbir to evacuate his family from the site voluntarily or face evacuation by force.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration told Ma'an that no demolition warrants were delivered in the area on Sunday.

Shahbir explained that his family moved to Abu al-Raish after Israel forcibly expelled them the Deit Daqla area, further south on Deir Ballut lands, after being told their homes were built too close the separation wall's route.

Shahbir called upon governmental, private, and human rights organizations to stand in solidarity with his family and provide support to prevent Israel from displacing them a second time.

The Shahbir family is originally from Hebron, and have been residing in Salfit for the past 45 years, he added.

Israeli authorities have used numerous demolition orders targeting Palestinian properties in Deir Ballut over the years, under the pretext that they lacked permits required by Israel to build inside Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli military control.

An analysis conducted by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem showed that a group of houses slated for demolition in 2007 in Deir Ballut were all located 200 to 300 meters from the planned route of Israel's illegal separation wall.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally, and placing them under the constant risk of demolitions at the hands of Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

Earlier on Sunday, local sources in the area said Israeli authorities were advancing plans to expand an illegal settlement to be built on on the lands of the Palestinian village of Masha, located just north of Deir Ballut.

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