Ma'an News Agency
July 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli authorities have demolished eight structures belonging to Palestinians in a residential area northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Al-Gharbi mayor Ghassan Abu Salem said more than a dozen military vehicles carrying armed soldiers arrived mid-morning Wednesday with military equipment to carry out the demolitions.

"They immediately began tearing down the structures," Abu Salem said. "They were homes and shops right on the main street, but the army said they were illegally built in 'Area C'," which falls under Israeli control.

Israeli authorities said the demolitions were justified.

"The owners were given orders to stop building but they did not," a spokesman for Israel's Civil Administration, which coordinates non-military matters in the occupied Palestinian territories, told Ma'an.

Young men from the Palestinian village threw stones at the Israeli forces who were guarding the construction equipment after they carried out the demolitions, the official said. There were no reports of injury.

Two of the demolished structures were home to the families of Natham A’ttallah and Ahmad Ya’qub, who are now staying with relatives. Netham was preparing to host a wedding for his son Friday at the home, "but the bulldozers smashed it down to rubble," Abu Salem said.

Two other homes were demolished, as well, one which was already complete with the owners set to move in over the weekend, Abu Salem said. Also demolished were shops and agricultural buildings, he said.

Palestinians say the targeted area is home to many of the village's 1,500 residents.

"The matter is indicative of the occupation authorities' ongoing determination to eradicate the Palestinian presence in these areas for the benefit of settlers and settlements,” Abu Salem said.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017