Over the past couple of weeks, Palestinians living in the West Bank have witnessed a series of demolitions settler attacks, and land confiscations.
On May 29th, settlers uprooted 300 mature olive trees in the village of Awarta, south of Nablus. In another incident, settlers from Gelad set fire to land belonging to the village of Jib, west of Nablus, burning an estimated 20 dunums planted with olive trees and wheat.
In Jerusalem, bulldozers from the Occupation municipality destroyed the home of Bedwan Abd al Bari al Salama. Al Salama is a resident of Beit Hanina, a neighborhood of Jerusalem, and his home was destroyed under the pretext that it was built without a permit.
Al Salama told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that the 13 year-old home was two stories high and 280 square meters in size. It housed 14 people from the family. Al Salama stated, “Teams from the Occupation municipality took advantage of our absence from the house. They destroyed it and turned it into rubble without removing the furnishings, with the knowledge that we payed the monthly fines that together have totaled 100,000 shekels.”
Hiyam Salama added: “The Occupation did not only destroy our house, but uprooted the trees and fruit trees.” They spent many long years building the house, and she emphasized that the land was theirs and they would not leave.
Prior to the demolition, police and soldiers surrounded the Salama home, prohibiting residents from entering and press from entering to report on the event. Occupation forces arrested two boys after assaulting them during confrontations that broke out during the demolition. Soldiers also fired tear gas and sound bombs, leading to several injuries.
On the same day, occupation bulldozers demolished a car repair workshop in the village of Hizma, outside of Jerusalem. The workshop, which belonged to ‘Awwad Hussien Sabih, was demolished on the pretext that it lacked a permit.
The Hizma municipality told Wafa that Sabih had not received prior warning, and was surprised when at the arrival of the demolition crew. Not giving him the chance to remove anything from the workshop, Sabih estimated his losses at 90,000 shekels.
The municipality explained that the continued demolitions of plant nurseries, stoneworks, and car repair shops is threatening residents’ ability to make a living and provide for their families. Hizma has already lost most of its land to the Occupation’s settlement, and thousands of housing units have been built on its land.
On June 3, Occupation forces gave warning to residents of Bruqin, in the Salfit district, to evacuate more than 100 dunums of land owned by the head of the municipality, Nafiz Barakat, along with Saleh ‘Amer. The pair found the warnings on their land, located in the north of the village. Barakat stated that he had readied and planted the area four months ago, only to find orders from the military to leave the land.
Also in the Salfit district, a group of settlers closed the main road to the village of Yasuf and then proceeded to attack Palestinian vehicles.
Finally, in Jerusalem, Occupation forces distributed demolition orders to the ‘Awda and al-Rajbe families. The two families live in Silwan, south of the al-Aqsa Mosque.