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Israel demands Yatta villagers remove solar panels

Oct. 7, 2013 4:05 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 10, 2013 9:51 A.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday demanded Palestinians remove 10 solar panels from their rooftops in the Yatta region south of Hebron, a local group said.

The coordinator of the Popular Committees against the Settlements and the Wall south of Hebron and east of Yatta, Ratib al-Jbour, said that Israeli forces had visited the village and demanded that villagers remove the solar panels.

The solar panels provide electric power for 10 families in the Asfi area east of Yatta in the southern West Bank.

Ratib al-Jbour denounced the move and called upon international humanitarian organizations and human rights organizations to prevent them from implementing the decision.

The South Hebron Hills, known locally as Masafer Yatta, lies almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israel civil and security control since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Only one village in Masafer Yatta has ever been able to connect to the Palestinian electricity grid, after a decade of wrangling with the Israeli military.

Masafer Yatta has an electricity network, connecting the four Israeli government-sanctioned settlements and six unauthorized outposts built there since 1981 to Israeli supplied electricity.

Palestinian villages have been refused access to these power lines that criss-cross their land, and the army has torn down at least three attempts to connect to the Palestinian Authority supply.

Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region, according to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.

The safety of these settlers is often given as an excuse for forced displacement of Palestinians who have lived in the area for decades, if not centuries.
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