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20 Mar, 2015

Israel Demolishes Dozens of Residential Structures, Livestock Barns in Jordan Valley

JORDAN VALLEY, March 18, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities early Wednesday demolished dozens of residential structures and livestock barns in the northern Jordan Valley localities of Makhoul and al-Hadidiya, according to a municipal source and local activist.

Escorting bulldozers, Israeli forces broke into and cordoned the area off and prevented locals from approaching the structures slated for demolition.

According to Mu‘taz Bsharat, who monitors settlement activities in the Jordan Valley, forces proceeded afterwards to level and demolish residential structures and livestock barns without any prior notice and threatened locals to displace them from their Makhoul locality despite having a valid leasing and court rulings that no demolition shall be carried out.

Forces also proceeded to demolish residential structures in al-Hadidiya locality and seized two water tanks in al-Farisiya locality.

Mayor of Tubas and the Northern Jordan Valley Ahmad As‘ad slammed the demolition as a ‘racist Israeli occupation practice’.

“These practices unveil the true face of Israeli democracy. Carried out a day after Israeli general elections, they indicate that the Israeli government is led by settlers, seeking to fulfill their plans and expel indigenous Palestinian communities from the Jordan Valley in order to expand settlements and Judaize the land,” remarked As‘ad.

He pledged that the demolished structures will be rebuilt and called on international community to assume its responsibilities with regard to Israeli crimes violating international conventions, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Having no other choice, many Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli control, are forced to build without permits to be able to provide a shelter for their families, risking having their buildings demolished in the process.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between December 30, 2014 and January 12, 2015, the Israeli authorities demolished 27 Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank and five in East Jerusalem, in addition to two self demolition incidents, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

Israel is planning to annex the Jordan Valley into a completely Israeli area, primarily in agriculture, targeting to ban territorial contiguity between a future Palestinian state and the rest of the Arab world.

To this end, tens of settlements and agricultural outposts have been established by Israel in the Valley, which makes up about one-third of the total area of the occupied West Bank.