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3 Jun, 2015

Israeli Army Blocks Construction of Four Bethlehem Homes

BETHLEHEM, June 2, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli army on Tuesday notified local residents of Um Salmouna, a village located to the south of Bethlehem, to stop the construction of four houses, according to local sources.

The houses are owned by local Palestinian families, and each of the houses has an area of 200 square meters, according to the village’s mayor, Mahmoud Takatka.

The village is located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli control, where Israel rarely issues construction permits to Palestinians, forcing many of them to embark on construction without a permit to shelter their families.

Very recently, Israeli army handed Palestinian families in Beit Iksaria, south of Bethlehem, a notice ordering them to stop the construction work on three homes, as well to demolish an animal barn, under the pretext of ‘unlicensed building’, according to a local official.

The village’s mayor, Mohammad Atallah, told WAFA that an Israeli army force broke into the village, and notified three local residents to stop the construction work on their homes.

Another family was forced to demolish its 60-square-meter animal barn, where it raises livestock for living.

Until the start of May, around 34 homes received stop construction notices in the village alone, which Atallah stressed, aims to displace its residents as a prelude to take over the land for settlement purposes.

Locals petitioned against the demolition notices; however, they have received no response.

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.