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Israel to demolish 7 agricultural structures, water wells in southern Nablus

Aug. 2, 2016 2:25 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2016 7:07 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Monday evening delivered demolition notices for seven agricultural structures and water wells in the Nablus village of Qusra, local sources told Ma’an, amid a massive surge in demolitions carried out in Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank's Area C.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activities in the northern occupied West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli forces gave Raed al-Daas, Farid Hasan, Muhammad Odeh, Mahmoud Odeh, and Fateh Abu Redeh demolition notices for their agricultural structures, with Israel authorities saying they were built without Israeli-issued building licenses. Daglas did not specify how many water wells were threatened with demolition.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) did not respond to a request for comment.

In May, Israeli forces delivered demolition notices for agricultural structures in Qusra, including four water wells which were built by the Dutch government, for being built in Area C and lacking the permits required by the Israeli Civil Administration.

In response to the incident, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah condemned Israel’s illegal practice of destroying Palestinian water infrastructure as "atrocious."

“Israel uses every means possible to chase Palestinians away from their ancestral land,” Hamdallah said at the time. "Water is life, and if you don't have water you cannot exist."

“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 the Palestinian prime minister.

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, in what rights groups argue is a worrying indicator that Israel intends to annex the entirety of Area C, according to a report released by Israeli rights group B’Tselem last week.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally.

The report said that 168 homes were destroyed during the first half of 2016 for lacking building permits, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless --compared to all of 2015, when 125 homes were demolished, leaving 496 Palestinians without a home.

While Palestinians are routinely subject to demolitions and land seizures in the West Bank, they are also subject to disproportionately low access to vital resources. Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory consume approximately six times the amount of water used by Palestinians; this discrepancy is even greater when considering water used for agricultural purposes.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov in May slammed the continued demolitions being carried out in the occupied West Bank.

“Although many of the structures that have been demolished are not dwellings,” Mladenov said, “the loss of water wells, solar panels, and animal shelters has impacted the livelihoods of over 2,500 people.”

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