Middle East

Activists protest plans to raze West Bank hamlet

Palestinian youths throw stones at an Israeli bulldozer during a protest against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Kdumim, in the northern West Bank.

SUSIYA, Occupied West Bank: Hundreds of Palestinians and peace activists Friday held a protest at the West Bank village Susiya, for whom Israel has recently served demolition orders.

An AFP correspondent said over 500 people demonstrated at the site, located in the southernmost part of the West Bank, carrying signs against the evacuation and demolition of the 50 structures comprising the hamlet.

The Israeli army and border police were present in large numbers, the correspondent reported, adding that there were minor clashes between the sides.

However, there were no injuries and no arrests were made.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that “500 Palestinians and rioters gathered near Susiya. Once they started approaching [the nearby Israeli settlement also named] Susiya, soldiers used riot dispersal means.”

A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration, the military body that governs areas of the West Bank under full Israeli control, said residents of the hamlet had received the demolition orders last week.

The orders were the result of a petition by the right-wing Regavim organization to the Supreme Court, which argued that the structures were built without permits and therefore illegal.

Permits for Palestinians to build in the West Bank are extremely rare, and the Israeli authorities routinely issue demolition orders for structures built without their approval.

The spokesman noted that the court had afforded the residents two weeks to appeal the decision.

“The demolition will take place only after the court decrees on the case,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 23, 2012, on page 10.




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