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Israel delivers demolition, stop-work orders to Palestinian family in Beit Ummar

March 21, 2017 12:09 P.M. (Updated: March 21, 2017 4:41 P.M.)
(File)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities delivered demolition and stop-work orders to a Palestinian family in the southern occupied West Bank on Sunday evening.

Muhammad Abd al-Nasser Jumaa, a resident of the Hebron-district village of Beit Ummar, told Ma’an that Israeli forces delivered two warrants to his father -- a demolition order for a 200-square-meter house under construction in the area of Beit Zaata, and a stop-work notice for a 100-square-meter home also under construction in the area.

Jumaa said that his father had filed a complaint in an Israeli court against the demolition order three months ago, adding that eight relatives were currently living in a shack made of tin sheets and had been planning on moving into the two buildings once they were completed.

Israeli authorities reportedly informed the family that the first house would be demolished within six days.

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, said Tuesday morning that "enforcement warrants were served concerning illegal construction" in Beit Ummar, which is located in Area C, where "construction requires the approval of the qualified authorities."

"The warrant was served after a warrant to stop the construction was violated, and the continuing of the enforcement will take place in accordance to professional and operational considerations," the written response concluded.

Israel almost never gives Palestinians permission to build in land classified as Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control -- leaving residents no choice but to build their homes without permits who “live in constant fear of their homes and livelihoods being destroyed,” Israeli rights group B’Tselem has said.

Israel demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied territory in 2016 than in any year since the United Nations began documenting demolitions in 2009, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

According to UN documentation, 1,093 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israeli authorities, displacing 1,601 people.

At least 173 demolitions have been reported in the Palestinian territory since the start of 2017, displacing 299 people as of March 6.
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