VIDEO | Israel bulldozes West Bank homes

A Palestinian man points towards a home demolished by Israeli bulldozers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, on 15 January 2013. (Photo: AFP – Ahmad Gharabali)

Israeli bulldozers on Tuesday demolished two West Bank homes under the pretext that they were built without permits, local media reported.

Home owner Ibrahim al-Kiswani told WAFA news agency that bulldozers, backed by security forces, entered his town of al-Ashqariyeh, north of Jerusalem, at dawn and gave his six-member family 10 minutes to evacuate before destroying the house.

“The scene was painful for the children, who began to cry at the sight of their house being demolished before their eyes,” Kiswani said, adding that his pregnant wife fainted during the demolition. The house was located in the Beit Hanina neighborhood.

Kiswani, who works as a farmer, said he had paid tens of thousands of dollars to a secure a permit for the home, but was unsuccessful.

In the same neighborhood later Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished a building housing 30 members of the Castero family.

Video shows the demolition of the Castero family home:

One of the residents, Mohammed Saleh Castero, said that the 420 square meter, two-story building included four apartments. He added that the family was given a 50-day demolition notice, and was unable to secure a permit in that time.

“Today we have been put on the streets without a home,” he told WAFA. “Where will we go? This is our land and we will not leave despite the occupation’s many attempts to uproot us from this land.”

Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures in the occupied West Bank occur almost daily under the pretext of building without a permit. The policy has drawn widespread condemnation from rights groups.

Roughly 94 percent of Palestinian applications for building permits are rejected, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

The group estimates that Israeli authorities have demolished about 27,000 Palestinian structures in the West Bank since 1967.

Ziad Hamouri, Director of the Jerusalem Center for Social and Human Rights, told WAFA that Jerusalem in particular is witnessing a “demographic war” by the occupation forces to make Palestinians a minority.

“The occupation is increasing its pace of home demolitions and the issuing of demolition notices, land grabbing, intensive taxation, child arrests, and economic blockades,” he said.

In a separate incident Tuesday, WAFA reported that Jewish settlers torched two Palestinian-owned vehicles in the village of Deir Jreer, northeast of Ramallah.

The report added that the settlers also sprayed graffiti in the area calling for Palestinians to leave the village, and claiming Israel’s ownership over the land.


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