Israeli forces have demolished four Palestinian homes in the Arab city of Tira, displacing their residents, a report says.
Israeli authorities bulldozed the houses in the city, located in the central part of the occupied territories, at dawn on Sunday, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
They claimed that the homes had been constructed without a license, which is almost impossible to obtain.
The report, citing local sources, added that Israeli police forces first stormed the neighborhood and cordoned off the area, before carrying out the demolitions.
The move angered local residents and has drawn widespread condemnation against the Israeli regime for exploiting the coronavirus crisis to press ahead with its demolition campaign in Arab-populated areas to expand its illegal settlements.
Last month, the Palestinian minister of Jerusalem al-Quds affairs, Fadi al-Hadami condemned Israel’s exploitation of the pandemic to expand its settlement construction activities, saying the Tel Aviv regime aims to further Judaize the occupied holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds.
“In light of the world’s preoccupation with the fight against the [COVID-19] epidemic, we see that the pace of settlement expansion in al-Quds has increased, with more than 17,700 settlement units being built just within the past two months. This indicates that Israel cares neither about the epidemic nor the campaign against coronavirus, and is simply pursuing its policies of settlement construction,” Hadami said.
Israeli authorities also demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank usually claiming that the residential structures have been built without the relevant building permits.
They also sometimes order the Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality.
Back in May last year, the Israeli rights group, B’Tselem, said in a report that the Tel Aviv regime uses other strategies to block Palestinian use of land, or demolish the homes Palestinians have already built, thus, clearing the way for new illegal Israeli settlements in the region.
Israeli authorities may declare Palestinian-owned land as “open scenic areas,” where development is prohibited, or as “national parks,” where construction and urban development are almost entirely forbidden.
In other parts of the occupied territories, vast swaths of land, including towns and villages, may be declared to be “military zones” almost as a matter of routine, and Palestinians are forced to leave their homes for set periods when the military moves in.