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Nablus-area homes slated for demolition by Israel

June 7, 2016 4:28 P.M. (Updated: June 7, 2016 10:09 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities on Tuesday notified the owners of two buildings in the northern occupied West Bank village of Duma in the Nablus district that their properties were slated for demolition.

Deputy head of Duma’s village council Adeeb Dawabsha told Ma’an resident Iyad Fahmi Dawabsha had been notified that his two-level home was slated for demolition. A carpenter workshop on the first floor was also slated for demolition.

Dawabsha added that Israeli forces also delivered a demolition warning to Majdi Said Dawabsha for his two-level home.

The deputy head highlighted that both buildings were located located in Area C -- the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control. He added that the same families had received demolition warrants in 2013.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Ma’an they were looking into reports of the incident.

The notices were the latest in a series of demolition orders targeting homes and other structures in the Nablus area.

On May 26, Israeli authorities handed out demolition notices for three houses, an agricultural structure, and a power line in the Abu Safi area east of Duma, with Israeli authorities claiming they were not built with the required licenses.

On May 24, four water wells, three agricultural structures, and a three-kilometer agricultural road in the village of Qusra in southern Nablus were also threatened with demolition by Israeli authorities for lacking necessary permits.

“The destruction of water infrastructure is atrocious; while Palestinians struggle with water shortages, Israeli settlers use scarce water resources to fill up their swimming pools,” said Jamal Dajani, director of Strategic Communications and Media for Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in response to the incident.

The Nablus area has also been the site of numerous actual demolitions, amid a mass escalation in demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures across the occupied Palestinian territory this year -- destruction of property which included punitive demolitions, destruction of EU-funded structures, and demolitions without prior notice.

Over 800 Palestinians have now been displaced since the start of 2016 -- far surpassing the number displaced during the entirety of 2015 -- due to the demolition of more than 600 structures in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem by Israeli authorities, according to UN figures.

The majority have been carried out in Area C -- under full jurisdiction of the Israeli military -- where nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.

Palestinians frequently take their cases to Israeli courts after Israeli land confiscation and demolition notices are ordered, though they seldom win their cases in courts. The legal process can also be too expensive and time consuming for Palestinian residents to afford without legal aid.

Meanwhile, Israel has recently stepped up land confiscation in the occupied West Bank for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and outposts. Residents in the Nablus area village of Jalud were alerted on April 23 that 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of private land were slated for confiscation in what appeared to be the retroactive legalization of illegal outposts in the area.

Some 12 illegal settlements and 27 settlement outposts are located in the Nablus district, housing around 23,000 of the "most extremist settlers in the Palestinian territory," according to Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank.

In March however, Israel's high court ruled that Israeli authorities were obligated to return 1,700 dunams (420 acres) back to private Palestinian landowners, which included land in the Palestinian villages of Jalud, Duma, and Qusra in Nablus illegally seized by Israel.
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