Israeli bulldozers demolish more Palestinian homes
A Palestinian boy walks near the rubble of his family's destroyed house after Israeli bulldozers razed it down the previous day in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukabbir in May. AFP Photo
Israeli bulldozers demolished four homes housing over 40 people on Tuesday in an area of the Jordan Valley just north of Jericho, the family and the city's Palestinian governor said.
The Israeli defense ministry confirmed the demolitions in al-Nuweima saying the structures were illegally built, without commenting on claims they were located in Area A of the occupied West Bank, lands which are under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
Mohammed al-Zaid, 66, whose sons own the bulldozed properties, told AFP the homes were located in a section of Area A land just north of Jericho, one of the few parts of the Jordan Valley where Palestinians can build.
He said that nonetheless the Israelis had been informed of the plans for their construction and had given their consent.
"My sons and I built in this area with the consent of the Israelis through plans presented to them by the Palestinian liaison," he said.
"I do not know why the occupation's bulldozers demolished the houses, where more than 40 people live– my sons and grandchildren."
Jericho governor Majid al-Feytani confirmed the houses were located in Area A and strongly condemned their demolition.
"This is a classified as Area A and we are alarmed by and strongly condemn the measures taken by the occupation authorities," he told AFP.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces delivered several demolition orders Tuesday to families in al-Issawiyah under the pretext of building without a permit, Ma'an News Agency reported.
Israel's policy of house demolitions predominantly affects Palestinians living in land designated as Area C, which is under full Israeli civilian and security control and which covers some 60 percent of the West Bank.
Israel has sped up its construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in defiance of international law, while continuing to demolish Palestinian homes.
Activists and some Palestinian politicians say Israel is attempting to Judaize Arab neighborhoods, and cleanse areas of indigenous Palestinians to highlight Jewish 'facts on the ground', thus impeding meaningful attempts to establish a Palestinian state.