In two areas in the occupied West Bank, a mosque and more than 10 other structures have been demolished by Israeli troops, Palestinian sources have said.
The biggest part of the demolition took place on Thursday, in the village of Khirbet Yarza in the northern Jordan Valley. According to local residents troops have razed a very old mosque and its much-larger extension, which was built last year. (map, from aljazeera.net)
They also said troops had levelled “more than 10 buildings used for sheep”.
Saying they were built inside a military firing zone, the Israeli military confirmed knocking down what it described as “eight temporary structures”.
“During the morning, the security forces and the civil administration destroyed eight temporary structures and the frame of another structure, which were built without the required permits inside a firing zone endangering the lives of the residents,” according to a statement from COGAT, the defence ministry unit which acts as a link between the army and the Palestinians.
The Palestinian government said in a statement that their efforts to build a state are met with “state destruction by Israel”.
Khirbet Yarza is located in Area C of the West Bank. It means that it is under full Israeli control and that all construction and planning issues come under the jurisdiction of the Israeli civil administration.
Israeli troops also destroyed a building at the opposite end of the West Bank, in the southern town of Yatta,. 18 people lived in this building, the family and municipal officials told the AFP news agency.
Around 95 per cent of applications for a building permit are rejected, and the civil administration only grants around 12 permits a year, according to figures from Bimkom, an Israeli NGO.
UN figures show that in 2009 Israel destroyed 180 Palestinian structures in Area C, including 56 residential buildings.