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Israeli forces demolish 3 homes, cultural center in village of Umm al-Kheir

Aug. 24, 2016 5:18 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2016 9:59 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers Wednesday demolished three Palestinian homes and a cultural center in the village of Umm al-Kheir in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, detaining an elderly disabled man in the process.

The coordinator of popular committees in southern Hebron, Rateb al-Jbour, told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the village and demolished three homes, two of which belonged to Shuiab al-Hathalin, a disabled elderly man, while the third belonged to Suleiman al-Hathalin.

Shuiab al-Hathalin was detained by Israeli forces following the demolition of his two homes.

Israeli forces also demolished a cultural center in the village.

According to al-Jbrour, Israeli forces had demolished several homes in the village during the past two weeks, claiming the properties were unlicensed. The village is located in Area C -- the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military jurisdiction -- where it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied territory, told Ma'an that the demolitions were carried out on "three illegal buildings" established without proper permits, and added that Israeli authorities had sent demolition notices to the owners prior to carrying out the demolitions.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, forcing most Palestinians to build illegally. However the 550,000 Jewish settlers residing in illegal Israeli settlements scattered across Palestinian territory are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

Since the start of 2016, at least 738 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished by Israeli forces, leaving at least 1,042 Palestinians displaced, according to UN documentation.

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