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Israel slates 15 Jericho homes for demolition

Jan. 6, 2011 6:12 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 7, 2011 8:32 P.M.)
JERICHO (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities delivered 15 demolition orders to farmers in the Ad-Dweik Al-Foqa area north of Jericho on Thursday, marking the second day such orders were handed out in the West Bank.

Director of Agriculture in Jericho Omar Al-Bsharat said in a statement that the demolition orders were part of a larger plan to evacuate the northern Jericho area, saying farmers had noted an increase in the number of patrols in the area ahead of the demolition orders.

Patrols would harass livestock herders, he said, intimidating Palestinian agricultural workers and preventing them from accessing fertile grazing areas.

An Israeli spokesman for the Civil Administration said no orders were handed out on Thursday, but confirmed that several were handed out on Monday in the same area, for homes that he said were built without a permit.

The day before, Israeli forces handed a number of demolition orders to residents of the Ein Assy area in Halhul north of the West Bank city of Hebron, locals said.

Residents said Israeli authorities told them the buildings were slated for demolition because they were built without permission in Area C, a zone under full Israeli planning, civil and military control.

Area C makes up 60 percent of the West Bank, and Palestinian building is rarely approved by Israeli authorities.

Locals said most of the homes to be demolished have been inhabited for many years, and that one of the buildings was a Palestinian Authority civil defense center.

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