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Jordan Valley demolitions leave 50 Palestinians homeless

Dec. 2, 2013 3:50 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 2, 2013 8:42 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Monday demolished four houses and eight agricultural structures in the southern Jordan Valley, leaving at least 50 Palestinians homeless, a local official said.

Fathi Shqaier, head of a campaign to support communities in the Jordan Valley, told Ma'an that Israeli forces demolished the properties in al-Auja village.

The residential and agricultural structures were built on land belonging to the Islamic endowment, or waqf, he added.

Local resident Imad Najada said that three bulldozers accompanied by at least 15 Israeli military vehicles arrived in the village and demolished the properties early Monday.

Over 50 people have been left homeless by the demolitions, locals said.

The properties belonged to Musallem Kaabna, Rafe Salama Jihadin, Ahmad Salama Jihadin, Yousef Musallem Kaabna, Ali Musallem Kaabna, Yousef Jihadin, Ahmad Mohammad Najada, Oda Mohammad Najada, Mousa Najada, Omran Mousa Najada, and Omar Mousa Najada.

Najada added that some residents filed an appeal in Israeli courts and have official documents proving that the land belongs to the Islamic endowment.

Guy Inbar, spokesperson for the office of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, could not be reached for comment.

The Jordan Valley forms roughly a third of the occupied West Bank, with 94 percent of the area off limits to Palestinian use and development.

Israel has declared around 56 percent of the total area to be part of closed military areas.

In 2012, 540 Palestinian structures were demolished in Area C due to a lack of Israeli-issued permits, displacing 815 people, over half children, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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