Israel Orders Halt on Construction of Homes Near Bethlehem

Bethlehem, 17 Ramaan 1437/22 June 2016 (MINA) – Israeli authorities on Tuesday notified Palestinians in Bethlehem district to stop the construction of several residential structures, under the pretext of construction without an Israeli permit, according to local sources.

Ahmad Salah, of the Anti-Settlement Commission in the village of al-Khader, to the west of Bethlehem, told WAFA that an Israeli military force broke into the village, where they handed written notifications to a number of local Palestinians ordering them to stop the ongoing construction of their homes, citing unpermitted construction as a pretext.

The Israeli authorities also ordered a halt on the construction of an agricultural shed in the village.

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The village is located in Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli civil and military control.

Issuance of construction permits by Israeli authorities for Palestinians in Area C, unlike for Israeli settlers, requires unreasonable fees that most Palestinians cannot afford to pay.

Over the course of 2015, Israel demolished 521 structures in Area C as well as in East Jerusalem, displacing 636 people, according to the UN monitoring group OCHA.

The vast majority of these demolitions were carried out on the grounds of construction without a permit. Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of applications for building permits in Area C were approved by Israeli occupation authorities, OCHA adds.

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The Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) explains in a special report that “in almost all cases Palestinians have no choice but to build ‘illegally’ as permits are almost impossible to obtain.”

“Many Palestinians have suffered multiple displacements, having lost their homes and livelihoods more than once. Forced displacement has a series of immediate and longer-term physical, socio-economic and psycho-social impacts on Palestinian families.” (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)