Israel continues land confiscation and house demolitions
Palestine-Israel, Local, 2/11/1998
Since the start of this year, Israel has confiscated 4, 275 dunums of Palestinian land in the West Bank, and is expected to continue with takeovers of Arab land in the future, said Khalil Toufakji, a Palestinian researcher who heads the East Jerusalem-based Arab Studies Society's maps department.
Toufakji said that most of the confiscation was made for the purpose of opening new roads in the West Bank that would serve Jewish settlers. Other purposes, he said, included the establishment of a quarry and expansion of a number of settlements like Tsur and Efrat in the southern parts of the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli army bulldozers demolished two houses in Dahihiriya and one in Halhoul in the Hebron district saying they were built without permits. The soldiers came early in the morning and ordered everyone out of the houses, said Anwar Abu Sharakh who owns one of the two houses that were destroyed in the Dahihiriya area.
Villagers in the area said the Israeli authorities have over the past few years sent warnings to home owners in the area that their premises were to be leveled because they are located so close to the pre-1967 Green Line border between Israel and the West Bank. The Israeli military government, said the villagers, wants to open a new bypass road along this border line and use of it will be exclusively for Jewish settlers in the area. The two families, comprising 12 people, who used to live in the two houses said they have become homeless after they now have no place to go to.
In Halhoul, eight people from one family also became homeless after the Israeli army demolished their house using the same pretext that it was built without a license.
The town of Halhoul was supposed to be transferred to Palestinian National Authority last year within the second phase redeployment of Israeli troops that Israel has failed to honor. Instead, Jewish settlers were said to have increased their activity and acts of provocation against the local population.
In one of the incidents, Palestinians said, the settlers raised banners calling for the eviction of all Arabs from the town, which is separated by the main road that leads to Hebron.
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