A Palestinian official says Israeli authorities are preparing to build a new illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, despite the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in Palestinian territories.
Ghassan Qabha, mayor of the town of Barta'a, told the official Palestinian Wafa news agency that Israeli forces on Sunday evening placed several prefabricated homes in a mountainous area near a checkpoint behind the separation wall southwest of Jenin.
He added that the prefabs have been put in the area as part of the Israeli regime’s plan to establish a new settler outpost there.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Israel forces Palestinian families to demolish own houses in East al-Quds
Separately, Israeli forces have forced two Palestinian families to demolish their own houses in East al-Quds.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwanic) announced in a statement that Eqab Ja’abis, a resident of Jabel Mukaber neighborhood in southern East al-Quds, was forced to tear down his own home after all efforts to reverse the demolition orders failed.
He had also paid hefty fines and fees while attempting to obtain permits for his house.
Silwanic also stated that Palestinians from the Dallal family in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in East al-Quds, were also forced to demolish three homes to avoid massive fines.
The homes were reportedly constructed several years ago. The family had tried to obtain necessary permits in addition to having paid fines, but to no avail.
Palestinians living in occupied East al-Quds are regularly forced to demolish their own houses upon orders by the Israeli municipality of the city to avoid paying exorbitant demolition fees to the municipality.
Furthermore, Israeli authorities frequently demolish Palestinian buildings and structures in the so-called Area C, with Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to that practice.
Area C, which is under full Israeli control, makes up more than 60 percent of the entire occupied West Bank. Eighty-eight percent of the area lies in the strategic Jordan Valley, which comprises a third of the West Bank.
Since 1967, the Israeli regime has been enforcing the draconian policy of demolishing the houses of Palestinians it deems to be behind fatal attacks against Israeli settlers. The practice, however, was temporarily halted from 2005 to 2014, with the exception of 2009, when scores of homes were sealed and razed in East al-Quds.