BETHLEHEM, March 16, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers Wednesday morning demolished a Palestinian house and an agricultural structure in al-Sharafeh locality and Wadi Rahhal village, in Bethlehem district, according to municipal sources.
Locals told WAFA that large-scale Israeli forces, escorting a bulldozer, stormed al-Sharafeh and cordoned off and demolished a two-storey house, purportedly for unlicensed building.
The 200-square-meter house belongs to Joudeh Mousa, a local Palestinian.
This came as Israeli troops demolished an agricultural structure in Wadi Rahhal village, southwest of Bethlehem.
Ammar Hijazi, a member of Wadi Rahhal village council, said Israeli bulldozers demolished an agricultural structure under the pretext of construction without a permit. The structure belongs to Amer al-Kamel, a local Palestinian.
Bulldozers destroyed surrounding metal gates before demolishing the structure.
According to the UN monitoring group OCHA, from February 23 to March 7, 2016 Israel destroyed or dismantled 85 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, including 17 structures provided as humanitarian assistance, displacing 96 Palestinians, including 41 children, and affecting 255 others.
According to OCHA statistics, the number of structures demolished since the start of 2016 is already 70 percent of the demolitions recorded in all of 2015, while the number of people displaced is nearly 68 percent of the total 2015 figure.
Statistics also indicate that the number of donor-funded structures demolished (120) has already exceeded the 2015 total (108).
Israel has severely curtailed Palestinians’ ability to legally construct new houses or expand existing houses in East Jerusalem and West Bank Area C, denying them permits since 1967 and prompting them to embark on construction without obtaining construction permits.