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Israeli forces demolish water cisterns in Hebron-area village

Sept. 27, 2016 1:46 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2016 5:35 P.M.)
(File)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished water wells in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Tuesday morning, municipal sources said.

An official from the municipality of Sair told Ma’an that Israeli troops demolished four wells in agricultural lands in the Jurat al-Kheil area east of Sair used for sheep to drink and to irrigate crops.

The wells reportedly belonged to Ziyad Mahmoud Shalalda, Ahmad Muhammad Shalalda, Ibrahim Muhammad Shalalda, and Nabil Shihada Shalalda.

The municipality official added that Israeli forces leveled lands in the area as well.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that “enforcement measures were carried out against four cisterns and an illegal structure in the Sair region, which were built without the required permits,” adding that Israeli authorities had previously demolished similar structures in the area.

In May, 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 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.

The Sair official said that Israeli forces had demolished eight homes in the Jurat al-Kheil area a month and a half earlier, leaving some 50 Palestinians homeless.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

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

Demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge in recent months, as Israeli authorities demolished 769 Palestinian structures so far this year, in a large increase from 531 in all of 2015, according to UN documentation.
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