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Israeli forces demolish rebuilt Area C structures

Aug. 5, 2010 10:55 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2010 9:53 A.M.)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- Israel's Civil Administration returned to the Jordan Valley on Thursday to demolish 23 structures recently rebuilt by residents and farmers in Al-Farisiya.

The town, in the Tubas district located across the highway from the Nahal Rotem settlement, is part of the nearby Sdemot Mehola.

The area has a total of five settlements, most engaged in farming, with more than half of the settlement-occupied land in the northern part of the Jordan Valley used for agriculture.

On 19 July, Civil Administration forces entered the area and demolished 20 animal shelters and agricultural buildings, saying they were constructed without authorization in an area designated "Area C" by the 1993 Oslo Agreements. Under the plan, areas outside of major cities were to have remained under Israeli civil and military control and gradually handed over to the Palestinians.

The buildings were reconstructed by residents, who called the demolitions illegal.

A UN report said 86 structures in the Jordan Valley were demolished two weeks ago, and 17 others were demolished in other areas of the West Bank the week after.

"The spate of demolitions raises concerns over whether Israeli authorities could further escalate demolitions throughout Area C," a UN report said, noting more than 3,000 demolition orders handed down by Israeli officials to locals were still outstanding.

"Currently, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits to maintain, repair or construct homes, animal shelters or necessary infrastructure in Area C," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest report on Area C.

Village council official and coordinator of the Save the Jordan Valley campaign Fathi Khdeiri said the demolitions were an "attack by occupation forces and an attempt to displace the residents of the Jordan Valley."

Representatives of the Civil Administration could not immediately be reached by phone.
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