BETHLEHEM, May 4, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli forces on Wednesday notified Palestinians in the village of al-Walajeh, to the west of Bethlehem, about their intention to demolish eight homes and to stop the construction of a ninth one, according to local sources.
Majdi Abuttin, from al-Walajeh village council, told WAFA that an Israeli military force broke into the village, and handed notifications to eight local Palestinians informing them that their homes will be demolished, under the pretext of construction without an Israeli permit.
The village is located in Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli military control. Israel rarely issues construction permits to Palestinians in area C, forcing many to embark on construction without obtaining a permit.
Area C covers 60% of the West Bank, which was temporarily divided into three parts – A, B and C – under the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Today nearly 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C, while nearly 360,000 Jewish settlers live in 135 settlements and 100 settlement outposts, which are illegal under international law.
According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between 1988 and 2014, Israel’s Civil Administration, the governing body that operates in the West Bank, issued 14,000 demolition orders, of which more than 11,000 are still outstanding and could result in the demolition of up to 13,000 structures owned by Palestinians in Area C, including houses, sheds and animal shelters.
The report found the planning and zoning regime applied by the Israeli authorities, including the way land is allocated, “made it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in most of Area C”.