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Oxfam calls for compensation from Israel

July 24, 2010 7:24 A.M. (Updated: July 26, 2010 8:42 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The international aid agency Oxfam demanded Monday that Israel compensate Palestinians in a northern Jordan Valley village after soldiers destroyed at least $29,000 of aid.

In a statement, the charity said villagers in Al-Farisiya were forced into poverty when soldiers demolished 79 structures in the village, including homes, stables, sheds, water tanks, two tons of animal fodder, fertilizer and wheat.

An initial assessment by Oxfam and other NGOs in the area calculated that the demolitions affected 113 Palestinians, half of them children and identified as some of the poorest in the area. Water tanks and irrigation pipes provided by Oxfam were among the damaged goods.

Oxfam’s advocacy officer, Cara Flowers, said the area looked "a natural disaster had taken place,” adding that “With no access to shelter, water or fodder for their goat and sheep herds, an entire community is being forced to leave their land.”

Under zoning regulations established under the 1994 Oslo Accords, Al-Farisiya falls in “Area C,” the 60 percent of the West Bank which is under full Israeli administrative and military control.

Last year, Israeli authorities declared village land a “military zone,” and some residents who have lived in the village for decades were issued eviction notices in June.

The UN has reported an increase in demolitions across Area C, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions recently reported that Israel has “returned with a vengeance” to its policy of demolishing Palestinian homes.

Flowers said “The Israeli authorities are obliged to protect the lives, property and livelihoods of civilians under their occupation. The authorities should now offer alternative accommodation and compensation for damage done, some of it to internationally donated material, but more importantly, to the lives of Al-Farisiya’s residents.”

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