Israel demolishes tents in West Bank village of Tana 20Feb11 February 21, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  20 February 2011

Israeli forces on Sunday bulldozed dozens of tents donated by the Palestinian Authority to the residents of Tana, a village east of the West Bank city of Nablus, locals said.

Atif Hanini — mayor of nearby town Beit Furik — said six Israeli army jeeps arrived accompanied bulldozers to demolish the tents.

Hanini said residents were left homeless in harsh weather conditions, and appealed to international organizations to intervene in Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration could not be reached for comment.

The demolitions were the fourth in just over a year. On February 9, 52 residents were displaced when Israeli authorities destroyed six residential structures and 21 animal pens in the community, according to a UN report.

Following that demolition, a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said humanitarian organizations were “currently working on assessing basic needs and providing an emergency response.”

Khirbet Tana falls in Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank and is under full Israeli military control. Residents must apply to Israeli authorities for permission to build on their land, but say permits are almost routinely refused.

According to the UN, in practice Israel’s Civil Administration allows Palestinians to build in less than one percent of Area C.

Israeli authorities frequently destroy Palestinian structures without permits. Residents say the demolitions are an attempt to force villagers from their land in order to confiscate it for illegal settlements.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Civil Administration “has established preferential practices for Israeli settlements and settlement outposts, approving detailed plans for almost all Israeli settlements located in the West Bank,” according to a UN report.

“Additionally, while settlement outposts – many of which are built on privately owned Palestinian land – have no approved plans, and, thus, no building permits, they rarely face the demolition of their structures,” the report adds.

Despite the repeated demolitions in Khirbet Tana, residents continue to rebuild.

According to OCHA, villagers need grazing land for their livestock and “most have no choice but to stay in the area, in order to sustain their livelihood.

“As such, the community has repeatedly re-built modest structures on the land, including residential tents and animal shelters.”

However, the repeated waves of demolitions “make it extremely difficult for Khirbet Tana residents to live in stability, sustain
their livelihood, or, given the repeated demolition of the village school, educate their children,” the UN office says.

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