WEST BANK, August 11, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities demolished multiple structures, including residential units, in the West Bank districts of Jenin as well as in the northern Jordan Valley, according to local sources.
In Jenin, Israeli army last night demolished a number of commercial structures in the village of al-Jalameh to the north of Jenin, the village’s mayor, Khaled Abu Farha, told WAFA.
He said the army accompanied by bulldozers arrived at the entrance of the village, just a hundred meter away from al-Jalameh border crossing, and demolished a cafeteria, a restaurant, a car repair shop, and a taxi office. The army also ransacked the content of these facilities.
Last year, the army notified the owners of these structures about their intent to demolish them, Abu Farha added.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces on Tuesday morning demolished a number of Palestinian-owned residential structures near Hamra checkpoint, in the northern Jordan Valley, according to their owner, Malek Bsharat.
Bsharat said he had earlier received a notification from the army regarding their intent to demolish the structures, under the pretext of building without a permit. He noted that some the structures were built before 1967, prior to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
The Jordan Valley is part of Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli control, where Israel rarely issues construction permits for Palestinians, prompting them to embark on construction without obtaining construction permits.
The Israeli army and police have repeatedly vandalized residencies in the Jordan valley under the pretext of construction without permission.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel demolished 390 Palestinian-owned structures in the Jordan valley in 2013 alone, up from 172 the year before.
Also last year, Israel destroyed some 590 Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, displacing 1,177 people, adds OCHA.
It said that, “Israel’s extrajudicial demolitions continue into 2015. In January alone, Israel destroyed 77 buildings belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, leaving 110 people, roughly half of whom were children, homeless in the cold of the winter.”
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley argued the demolitions violate international law. “Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension,” he said. “They must stop immediately.”
OCHA argues that the planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, “making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.”
“As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met,” it added.