An Israeli excavator demolishes a Palestinian building for allegedly being unauthorised [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli occupation forces have ordered a halt on the construction of two inhabited Palestinian houses in al-Maniya village, southeast of Bethlehem city, said a municipal source.
Head of al-Maniya Village Council Zeyad Kawazba told WAFA news agency that Israeli forces stormed the village and delivered stop-construction military orders for two houses, each occupying an area of 150 square meters.
The two houses belong to Assaf al-Froukh and his brother, Issa, and are inhabited by their families.
Located some nine kilometers to the southeast of Bethlehem, al-Maniya has a population of some 1,450 and occupies a total area of 8,908 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, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a tiny pocket of land occupying 906 dunams, accounting for 10.1 percent of the village’s total area. Israel maintains control over 8,002, classified as Area C, accounting for 89.9 percent.
Israel demolishes Palestinian houses and structures almost on a daily basis as a means to achieve “demographic control” of the occupied territories.
Israel denies planning permits for Palestinians to build on their own land or to extend existing houses to accommodate natural growth, particularly in Jerusalem and Area C, which constitutes 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and falls under full Israeli military rule, forcing residents to build without obtaining rarely-granted permits to provide shelters for their families.
In contrast, Israel argues that building within existing colonial settlements is necessary to accommodate the “natural growth” of settlers. Therefore, it much more easily gives the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers there building permits and provides them with roads, electricity, water and sewage systems that remain inaccessible to many neighboring Palestinians.
The “Civil Administration” is the name Israel gives to the body administering its military occupation of the West Bank.
Soldiers in the oxymoronically named Civil Administration determine where Palestinians may live, where and when they may travel (including to other parts of the occupied territories like Gaza and East Jerusalem), whether they can build or expand homes on their own land, whether they own that land at all, whether an Israeli settler can takeover that land among others.