An Israeli excavator demolishes a Palestinian building for allegedly being unauthorised [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli occupation forces on Friday delivered stop-construction orders against three Palestinian houses in Beit Sakariya village, south of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, said a local activist.
Director of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Commission Hassan Briejah told WAFA news agency that Israeli forces and officers of the so-called Israeli Civil Administration raided the village, and handed military stop-construction orders against three houses purportedly for lacking building permits.
The houses slated for demolition belong to Palestinian citizen Mohammad Atallah’s family.
Breijah added that the planned demolitions are part of Israel’s policy to limit the village’s urban expansion and seize its land to make room for the expansion of nearby Israeli colonial settlements.
Located nine kilometers to the south of Bethlehem city, Beit Sakariya, also known as Khirbet Beit Zakariya, has a population of some 150 and occupies a total area of 6,735 dunams.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, 100 percent of the village was classified as Area C, which falls under full Israeli control.
The village lies in the heart of the Israeli colonial settlement cluster, part of which comprises the Gush Etzion colonial settlement bloc. That’s why the villagers often suffer from the ongoing attacks and provocations of Israeli settlers, who attempt to seize their lands, uproot their trees and destroy their houses with the help of the Israeli military.
Israel has established six colonial settlements on land confiscated from the village. It has confiscated 2,350 dunams of the village land, accounting for 35 percent of the village total land. Israel has seized some 200 dunams for the establishment of a military camp, and further land for the construction of settler-only by-pass Road no. 60, 367 and 3698, which all extend for 4.5 kilometers on the village land.
Israel has constructed a section of the apartheid wall, isolating some 6,724 dunams of fertile land, accounting for 99 percent of the village total area, for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.