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Bethlehem-area village receives 11 demolition orders in weeks

April 16, 2017 8:32 P.M. (Updated: April 17, 2017 3:59 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Eleven Palestinian families in the occupied West Bank village of Wadi al-Nis, located in the Bethlehem district, have received home demolition orders in recent weeks, homeowners told Ma’an on Sunday.

One of the owners said that four of the homes that received demolition orders in the past few weeks were inhabited, while seven other buildings were under construction.

The families, the resident said, have been trying to complete the construction of the homes and move in, as they believed that it would "protect the houses from demolition."

However, disputes between landowners from Wadi al-Nis have so far prevented a road from being built to access these seven houses.

A spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the West Bank, said that Ma’an did not provide enough information to be able to comment on the cases.

Ninety-nine percent of the land in Wadi al-Nis, whose population numbered fewer than 800 people in 2007, is located in Area C -- the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, according to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ).

More than a quarter of the village’s lands have been used for the construction of illegal Israeli settlements from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing communities to build illegally, and placing them under the constant risk of demolitions at the hands of Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.
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