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Israel Steps Up its Destruction of Palestinian Homes and Agricultural Lands in Occupied Territories

The Israeli military and other authorities are demolishing Palestinian-owned homes and levelling their lands in multiple cities and villages across the occupied territories, citing lack of Israeli construction permits
Israel Occupies More Land

Israeli bulldozers destroying Palestinian lands and homes in Nahalin in the occupied West Bank on March 3.

The Israeli state has conducted a series of violent invasions and home demolitions in Palestinian villages and towns in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last few days. Several Palestinian-owned homes and lands were targeted by the Israeli army soldiers along with illegal Israeli Jewish settlers living in the occupied Palestinian territories. Citing lack of Israeli construction permits, the authorities have marked Palestinian private property for demolition and eventual confiscation. A few homes were also given warnings and notices of demolition orders as well as orders to stop further construction on their land. Israel-issued permits are highly difficult to obtain for the Palestinians.

On the morning of March 3, Tuesday, Israeli soldiers invaded the Palestinian villages of Qusra and Julish, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. They leveled and cleared Palestinian lands with bulldozers and other heavy machinery. According to head of the village council Abdel Azim Wadi, the soldiers destroyed mostly agricultural lands of Mount Najma. Subsequently, clashes broke out between the soldiers and the local Palestinian youths who were trying to resist the destruction of their agricultural lands and property.

Wadi told Quds News Network that the Israeli authorities detained close to 100 Palestinians. Two Palestinian men were taken to the hospital after Israeli soldiers brutally beating them up with rifles. They have been identified as Mahmoud Owdeh and Thaer Hasan. Several other Palestinians were also attacked with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters during the Israeli attack.

The same day, the Israeli military issued notifications to Palestinian homeowners in the southern West Bank village of Nahalin, according to its deputy mayor Hani Fannoun. One of the owners, Ahmed Mahmoud was told by the Israeli army’s civil administration that his home in the al-Bakoush area will be demolished, while two others, Adel Najajera and Ra’ed Sawad, received orders to stop further construction on their homes in the same area. A few days ago, the Israeli military had confiscated two concrete mixers and forced the residents to stop the construction work. The area falls under Area C of the West Bank, which is under full control of the Israeli military.

In the northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, in the town of Hezma, the Israeli municipality demolished part of a Palestinian-owned home citing the absence of a permit, as per mayor Musallam Abu Hilo. Hilo added that officials used bulldozers to demolish the second floor of the two-story house belonging to Rami Khatib, who lived there with his wife and six children. 

Such actions by Israeli authorities have increased in the run to the Israeli general elections held on March 2. During the election campaign, right-wing extremist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to build even more illegal Israel settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He also declared his intention to annex and recognize the existing illegal settlements as a part of the state of Israel. This is part of his strategy to consolidate and win over a majority of the conservative right-wing Jewish vote in Israel. However, such moves amount to a violation of international law and are considered war crimes. Under article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, the occupying power is forbidden to forcibly transfer the protected population already living in the occupied territory.

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