World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli bulldozers on Tuesday demolished a mosque and three homes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, a Palestinian official said.
"Eighteen Israeli military jeeps and two bulldozers stormed Kherbt al-Taweel early this morning and declared the village a closed military zone," Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of the settlements file, told Anadolu Agency.
"The Israeli forces demolished a mosque and three houses under the pretext of being built without a permit," he added.
The Israeli forces have since withdrawn from the village but have beefed up security its entrances.
Jawdat Bani Jabr, head of the village council, told AA that the Israeli bulldozers had demolished the only mosque in Kherbt al-Taweel and displaced 25 Palestinians.
"Israel has long sought to control the village because of its strategic location, which overlooks the Jordan Valley," he added.
The Jordan Valley – a large, fertile strip of land that accounts for roughly one quarter of the occupied West Bank – is populated by nearly 10,000 Palestinians, mostly farmers.
Israel has built nearly 21 Jewish settlements in the area, which it views as an economic and security buffer zone.
Israel wants to keep the region under its control in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Palestinians, for their part, want the Jordan Valley as part of a future state of Palestine.
Anwar Sidki, one of the residents whose homes were bulldozed, said the Israeli authorities had did not give him any prior warning.
"They just demolished the house," he told AA.
"I have five children and a wife. I have to either re-build the house or they will remain in the streets."
Israel razes Palestinian home near East Jerusalem
Israeli bulldozers, backed by army troops, on Tuesday demolished a makeshift home owned by a Palestinian family near Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) under the pretext of being built illegally.
"An Israeli force razed the makeshift home which was built in April 2013 and shelters the family of Abu Omar al-Maslamani, 60, under the pretext of having been built without permit," Jawad Siyam, head of the Palestinian NGO Wadi Hilweh Information Center, told Anadolu Agency.
"The Israeli force assaulted women and men during the operation and arrested Omar al-Masalamni, 27, and Ibrahim Shwiki, 32," he said.
Siyam said this triggered clashes between local residents and the Israeli forces.
He noted that the Al- Maslamani family had been forced to demolish another structure earlier this month.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israeli authorities demolished more than 500 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Al-Quds last year alone.
Israeli municipal authorities impose tight restrictions on the building and renovation of Palestinian homes in Al-Quds.
Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the holy city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity.
Al-Quds is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.Last Mod: 29 Nisan 2014, 16:05