IOF orders families to demolish homes

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Tuesday informed residents of Um Salmouna south of Bethlehem that they must end the construction of 4 houses, reported WAFA.

Local sources confirmed that the residents were handed official notices by the IOF informing them that the construction of 4 houses in the town is considered illegal by the occupation.

The houses are owned by local Palestinian families, according to the mayor, Mahmoud Takatka, and each one is 200 square meters.

This comes after Palestinian families in Beit Iksaria south of Bethlehem were given notices a few days ago ordering them to halt construction work on 3 homes, as well as to demolish an animal barn considered by the Israeli occupation to be illegal under the pretext of a lack of building permits.

The mayor of Beit Iksaria, Mohammad Atallah, told WAFA that IOF soldiers infiltrated the village and demanded that 3 local residents stop construction work on their homes. He said that another family was forced to destroy their animal barn which is crucial to their livelihoods.

Despite petitions made by locals against the demolition notices, there has been no response.

The Israeli government has recently decreased the number of building permits granted, leading desperate families to go ahead with construction without them.

The total number of building licenses issued in the first quarter of 2015 decreased by 8.1% compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, and by 19.4% compared with the first quarter of 2014, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

The IOF is also systematically destroying family homes in east Jerusalem, with 3 destroyed on Tuesday morning without any prior notice.

Conversely, the Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem Wednesday last week approved the construction of 90 settlement units in Har Home settlement south Jerusalem.

This is in addition to last October when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave orders for the construction of 1,060 new settlement units in two settlements in East Jerusalem; 660 new units in ‘Ramot Shlomo’, and 400 in ‘Har Homa’, in addition to an infrastructure project of 12 new settlement roads in the West Bank.