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Israel orders demolition of Palestinian structures in Qalqiliya-area villages

Dec. 5, 2017 8:29 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 6, 2017 12:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities reportedly ordered on Tuesday that 17 Palestinians in the Qalqiliya district of the northern occupied West Bank destroy structures that they had built on their lands.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that officials from Israel’s civil administration raided the Qalqiliya-area villages of Sanniriya and Beit Amin, saying that 17 villager should remove any structures that they had built on their own lands.

The civil administration reportedly told the villagers to “return the land back to the way it was,” according to Wafa.

Wafa added that the villagers were also ordered to appear at the civil administration offices in the West Bank.

Palestinian construction in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control -- is completely forbidden.

Palestinians are not allowed to build on their own private lands without nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permits.

The 1995 Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israeli authorities divided the West Bank into Area A, B, and C. Area A, comprising the populated Palestinian cities and making up 18 percent of the West Bank, would be controlled by the newly formed PA, while Area B remained under Israeli army control with the PA controlling civil affairs. Area C, the majority of the West Bank, however, was placed under full Israeli military control and contains the majority of natural resources and open spaces in the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli-controlled land was expected to be gradually transferred to the PA over a five-year period, according to the Oslo agreements. Yet, almost two decades later, the land has remained under Israeli control.

Area C, along with East Jerusalem, has been the site of rapid Israeli settlement expansions in contravention of international law, while Israel’s separation wall has further divided Palestinian communities and has restricted Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from even visiting what was intended to be their capital.

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