Israel destroys Palestinian house near Bethlehem

Israeli heavy machinery demolish vacant apartment blocs by order of Israel's high court, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah July 29, 2015. Israel gave final approval on Wednesday for plans to build 300 new homes in the Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, announcing the move as it carried out a court demolition order against two vacant apartment blocs at the site. Dozens of Jewish settlers have gathered over the past several days at Beit El settlement to protest against the demolition. Israel's Supreme Court ruled the two partially-built dwellings were constructed illegally on Palestinian-owned land. Photo by Shadi Hatem

Israeli regime forces have demolished a Palestinian house in a village in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, displacing its inhabitants of five.

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported on Monday that dozens of heavily-armed Israeli soldiers escorted bulldozers to the northern part of the village of al-Walajah in Bethlehem and demolished a 100-square-meter property there.

The house was owned by a Palestinian named Majdi Shweiki, and he lived there with his family, according to local sources.

Ma’an said about 180 homes in al-Walaja Village had received demolition notices from Israeli regime authorities and that 40 of them had received demolition orders under claims that they had been built without “building permits,” which the Israeli regime never issues in the so-called Area C of the West Bank anyway.

Area C, which is under full Israeli control, makes up more than 60 percent of the entire occupied West Bank. Eighty eight percent of the area lies in the strategic Jordan Valley, which comprises a third of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli authorities frequently demolish Palestinian buildings and structures in the area, with Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to that practice.

International bodies and rights groups say Israeli demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds are an attempt to uproot Palestinians from their native territory and confiscate more land for the expansion of illegal settlements.

Israel has been occupying the West Bank, including East al-Quds, since 1967. Ever since, it has been building settlements throughout the land, in a move condemned by the United Nations (UN) and considered illegal under international law.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Israeli settler assaults journalist in Hebron

In a separate report a day earlier, Ma’an said that an Israeli settler had attacked a journalist in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

The journalist, named Issa Amr, said the attacks and assaults against locals and internationals are a proof of the Israel’s apartheid and ethnic cleansing policy in al-Khalil.

Citing a Palestinian official, Ma’an also said Israeli settlers had attacked Palestinian vehicles with rocks in Huwara Town near the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) official in charge of monitoring Israeli settlement policy in the northern part of the West Bank, told the news agency that the extremist settlers smashed the windows of several Palestinian vehicles parked in front of Palestinian homes in the northern area of Huwara.

Daghlas said that Israeli settlers had organized a protest in Nablus City, sealing off several roads. Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories has been a major sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian talks, which have stalled since 2014.

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