World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli bulldozers backed by army forces on Monday demolished three houses near the northern West Bank city of Nablus under the pretext of having been built illegally, a Palestinian official confirmed.
"At least 40 Israeli soldiers and two bulldozers accompanied by officers from the Israeli Civil Administration stormed Kherbt al-Taweel village early this morning," Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of the settlements file, told Anadolu Agency.
"The Israeli forces demolished three houses owned by two Palestinians, Marouf Bani Fadel, 44, and Osama Bani Fadel, 42,” he added.
The village was declared as a military zone by the Israeli army for five hours, during which it denied access to the village residents as well as journalists and activists.
Marouf Bani Fadel, owner of one of the three demolished houses, told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli forces demolished the houses without any prior warning and without even allowing the families to remove their belongings.
"My family, which is composed of my wife and five children, has no choice but to live in a tent until I can rebuild the house," Bani Fadel told AA.
"My house was built on an area of 120 meters, I spent ten years building it and now it has gone just like that," he lamented.
Palestinian officials have repeatedly accused Israel of seeking to control the village because of its strategic location, which overlooks the Jordan Valley.
More than 10,000 Palestinians live in makeshift homes in the Jordan Valley, as Israel has prohibited the construction of permanent cement and iron structures in the area.
Animal husbandry and farming represent the main activities of valley residents.
Israel sees the strategic valley as an economic and security buffer zone for Jewish settlements and wants to keep the region under its firm control in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Palestinians, for their part, want the Jordan Valley as part of a future Palestinian state.
Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2014, 11:11