Israeli demolition of a Palestinian home in the south of the West Bank. (WAFA Images / Mashhour Wehwah)
Israeli occupation authorities on Tuesday demolished at least four Palestinian houses in Shalal al-Auja community, north of Jericho city, east of the occupied West Bank, displacing at least 44 Palestinians, according to a municipal source.
Mayor of al-Auja, Salah Freijat, was quoted by WAFA news agency as stating that a large Israeli military force escorted bulldozers to the community and proceeded to demolish the houses displacing dozens of people.
He said residents attempted to stop the demolition but the soldiers fired teargas and stun grenades at them.
The soldiers sealed off all entrances to the community before and during the demolition and denied reporters and the media access to the area.
Horizontally located 10 kilometers to the north of Jericho, al-Auja has a population of some 5,470 and occupies a total area of some 107,000 dunums.
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 control over a small pocket of land classified as Area A, which occupies 16,519 dunums and accounts for 15.5 percent of the village’s total area. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.
Israel has severely restricted Palestinian access to water in the area, particularly its water springs, including Ein al-Auja (al-Auja spring), which are located within Area C.
Israel has seized at least 2,257dunums of land belonging to the village for the construction of four nearby colonial settlements, 2,152 dunums for the construction of a military base, and more land for opening settler bypass roads, pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.