HRW: Israel’s policy of demolition reached record levels

HRW: Israel’s policy of demolition reached record levels

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Human rights watch (HRW) organization said that Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and the eastern part of occupied Jerusalem reached unprecedented levels compared to five years ago.

In a statement issued on Friday, the organization talked about 267 Palestinian homes and structures razed in these areas since the beginning of this year and cited as an example what happened to Al-Farisya village in the Jordan valley region.

It noted that Israel last month knocked down all the 76 homes and structures in this village and displaced 113 people, about half of them children, at the pretext that it was built in a closed military zone, although it came into existence dozens of years ago before Israel decided to close the area.

Al-Farisya is one of many Palestinian villages Israel claims they were built illegally in the area it classified as C, which constitutes about 60 percent of the total area of the West Bank.

Human rights watch explained that Israel after its occupation of the West Bank in 1967 refused to give Al-Farisya residents construction permits and declared the area a closed military zone. It also prevented all Palestinian civilians from entering or leaving the area without permission.

The Israeli civil administration claimed in its response to the organization that no single Palestinian citizen was living in the village’s homes when evacuation orders was issued or on the demolition day and that the owners of homes and their families used to live in the village for a few days each year and have homes in other places.

Al-Farisya residents, for their part, confirmed they were living in their village throughout the year, according to HRW, which visited the village and saw destroyed furniture and other household appliances.

It said that what it saw proved that the Palestinians lived in that village on a permanent basis, adding that human rights activists and residents of others areas in the Jordan valley told it that the village had been inhabited for dozens of years.

HRW condemned such Israeli actions as a violation of international law and human rights and demanded Israel to stop immediately its wanton destruction of Palestinian homes.