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Israel halts construction of school in Bethlehem, despite residents receiving permit

Aug. 18, 2017 10:22 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2017 11:05 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities forcibly halted the construction of a school in Jubbet al-Dhib village in the eastern part of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank on Thursday, despite Palestinians receiving an Israeli-issued building permit for the project.

A representative of a popular resistance committee in Bethlehem Hasan Brejiyeh told Ma’an that Israeli forces, escorted by employees of the Israeli civil administration had “raided the village,” and shut down the construction at the school.

Israeli forces had put a stop to the construction, which consisted of eight mobile structures, and confiscated vehicles belonging to an Italian NGO. The residents said they had received a difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit for the project.

However, a spokesperson for the Israeli civil administration told Ma'an that the structures had not received the necessary permits, and that the construction was "illegal."

"Enforcement activities" were carried out as a result of a "work-halt" order that was delivered to the village several months ago, the spokesperson added.

Palestinians living in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control -- must apply for construction permits with the Israeli civil administration for any kind of development on their lands. However, oftentimes these requests are denied and the application process can be lengthy and expensive.

Rights groups have highlighted that Israel’s permit system in Area C has served to limit Palestinian construction in Israeli-controlled areas of the Palestinian territory, where the land is reoriented for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements or for other purposes serving the Israeli government or settlers.
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