Israeli forces demolish a building near Beit Jala in the West Bank, August 26, 2019. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Israeli occupation forces on Monday demolished a house in Beit Iskaria village, south of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, under the pretext it was built without a permit, said a local activist.
Director of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Commission in Bethlehem, Hassan Breijieh, was quoted by Wafa news agency as stating that the occupation forces and officers of the so-called Civil Administration, an arm of the military government, stormed the village and proceeded to demolish the house belonging to Numan Saed.
He said the demolition was 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, particularly since the demolished house is located in an area surrounded by illegal settlements.
Located nine kilometers to the south of Bethlehem city, Beit Iskaria, also known as Khirbet Beit Zakariya, has a population of some 150 and occupies a total area of 6,735 dunums.
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, 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. This is the reason why the villagers often suffer from the ongoing attacks and provocations by 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, along with a military camp and settler-only by-pass roads.
It also constructed a section of the apartheid wall on village land, isolating 99 percent of the village for colonial settlement activities and pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.