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Israeli forces confiscate paving equipment in Hebron

Aug. 31, 2016 9:53 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 3, 2016 5:35 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces Wednesday confiscated paving equipment and machines in the area of Wad al-Rakhim in the village of Sussiya in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron.

The head of the Sussiya local council, Jihad al-Nawajaa, told Ma’an that Israeli forces confiscated the equipment used for paving the roads, claiming the vehicles entered an area where vehicles were prohibited.

Al-Nawajaa said the vehicles entered the area by mistake, adding that he was assaulted by Israeli forces during the incident.

Al-Nawajaa added that similar equipment was confiscated from the al-Litwana area in the south of Hebron.

All of the roads in the area are paved through the financial support of international funds, al-Nawajaa added.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied territory, told Ma'an that "two pieces of illegal paving equipment were caught without approval from authorities in Area C," adding that the road to be paved led to structures deemed "illegal" by Israel, and rejecting "any claims that state that the activities in Area C were performed by accident."

Meanwhile, some 40 percent of Sussiya is under threat of imminent demolition, as the Israeli Supreme Court awaits a decision from ultra-right Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to determine the fate of the village, expected to be made in October.

In Area C, Palestinian building and land management are prohibited unless through a permit given by the Israeli Civil Administration, which is under the purview of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel only granted 33 building permits out of 2,020 applications submitted by Palestinians between 2010 and 2014.

The refusal to grant permits by Israeli authorities has forced many Palestinians to build without permission, at the risk of seeing their homes or structures demolished.

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem revealed in a report released recently, in a worrying confirmation of Israel’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank.

A total of 168 homes were destroyed during the first half of 2016 for lacking hard to obtain Israeli-issued building permits, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless, compared to all of 2015, when 125 homes were demolished, leaving 496 Palestinians without a home.
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