Middle East Eye / August 4, 2021
Al-Khatib family’s commercial facilities were in Palestinian town between four major settlements.
Israeli authorities demolished several Palestinian commercial and agricultural facilities on Wednesday in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In Hizma, a Palestinian town in East Jerusalem, Israel razed buildings in eight locations belonging to the Al-Khatib family, according to Wafa, an official news agency of the Palestinian Authority.
Hizma, a small town on the way to Jericho and the Jordan valley, is located between an Israeli military checkpoint, the separation wall, and the four illegal Israeli settlements of Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Ze’ev, Anatot, and Geva Binyamin.
Wafa reported that the settler group, Regavim, filed a petition in June to an Israeli court to demolish business premises in Hizma.
The group asked the court to demolish 16 structures belonging to the Al-Khatib family, saying they are located within the borders of Jerusalem’s municipality, but the court turned down the petition.
Israel, which maintains a settlement expansion policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, makes it impossible for Palestinians to get permits to build in East Jerusalem and Area C, which make up 60 percent of the West Bank. The policy has prompted the Palestinians to build without official papers and face severe fines and the risk of demolition.
‘Abuse’ of Palestinians
Midhat Dhiba, a Palestinian lawyer, said that the Israeli authorities had demolished the facilities despite a court decision.
He said that the authorities issued new demolition orders on Tuesday afternoon and carried them out within 24 hours while Israeli courts were closed for judicial leave, making it impossible to take any action to stop the execution of demolition orders.
“The government and the settler associations are two sides of the same coin, and each of them masters abuse of the Palestinians,” Dhiba said.
Meanwhile, in the town of Sebastia, to the north of Nablus in the West Bank, Israeli forces demolished an agricultural facility – for the second time – on Wednesday, according to Wafa.
The head of the Sebastia municipal council told Wafa that the property belonged to Abdulaziz al-Nabulsi and that the Israeli forces had destroyed the water network and the fence that serves the land.
Bedouin tents demolished
In Khirbet Ibzaiq, a Palestinian Bedouin community in the north of the Jordan Valley, Israeli forces demolished four housing tents and seven cattle sheds belonging to three families of 25 strong, 17 of them minors.
It also confiscated two water generators, two solar panels and two cars owned by the Palestinians who have been left homeless in the heatwave of the Jordan Valley.
Nael Turkman, whose housing tent was destroyed on Wednesday, told Wafa that he was leaving with his family to Jenin town, north of the West Bank.
“I have seven children, the youngest is seven months old, all of them today are with no shelter,” Turkman said.
“This is not the first time [Israeli forces] destroy my tents,” he said. “Nine years ago, they’ve destroyed my tents and my cattle sheds.”
In Wadi Rahaal, a village area in Bethlehem, south of the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces also demolished on Wednesday five agricultural premises for “lacking building permits” in Sh’aab Sultan area, according to Wafa.