The Israeli army demolished 12 Palestinian homes overnight in Qalandiya town, north of Occupied Jerusalem Under the escort of Israeli forces, bulldozers entered the village, at the pretext of their location near the segregation wall. The demolitions started last night and continued until dawn Tuesday, amid violent clashes in Qalandiya and Abu Dis towns, According to the Palestinian media.
According to Qalandiya media center, six bulldozers escorted by a large number of Israeli troops stormed 11 homes at least in Qalandiya and forced their residents out before embarking on knocking them down.
Israeli authorities destroyed the homes, which had previously been issued demolition notices, claiming they were too close to Israel’s separation wall and that they lacked the proper Israeli-issued licenses.
Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and residents of the village who attempted to form a blockade around the 12 homes.
Israeli soldiers reportedly fired rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at locals, and assaulted residents of the homes before the demolitions.
Among those assaulted during clashes was the head of the Qalandiya village council, Youssef Awadallah, who was taken to a hospital for treatment afterwards.
Israeli soldiers reportedly targeted journalists reporting on the demolitions, firing tear gas and stun grenades at them, resulting in the injury of one journalist.
Palestinian medical sources said that a total of seven Palestinians sustained injuries from rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas inhalation, and physical assault.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into reports.
The Israeli army justified the demolition of the houses by claiming they were built illegally near the wall without construction permits, according to one of the owners. Owners of the demolished houses had received last Sunday notices giving them 72 hours to evacuate their homes before razing them. In a related incident, 30 Palestinian young men suffered bullet and tear gas injuries during confrontations with the occupation troops in Abu Dis town, east of Jerusalem, according to the Red Crescent.
The over 800 Palestinians to be displaced this year far surpasses the number displaced during the entirety of 2015, while well over 1,000 Palestinians were also affected after losing structures related to their source of income.
Israel’s home demolition policy has been widely condemned by the international community as collective punishment, executed in direct violation of international law.
The majority of demolitions have taken place in Area C of the West Bank — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.
The Israeli authorities have regularly demolished Palestinian homes in Area C since occupying the West Bank in 1967, but rights groups and Palestinian officials have grown increasingly alarmed by Israel’s renewed demolition campaign this year, accompanied by unprecedented land grabs.
UN Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour denounced earlier this year the “shocking” impassivity of the UN Security Council regarding Israeli violations of Palestinians’ rights and international law, specifically referring to demolitions and settlement expansion.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his part said: “The creation of new facts on the ground through demolitions and settlement building raises questions about whether Israel’s ultimate goal is in fact to drive Palestinians out of certain parts of the West Bank, thereby undermining any prospect of transition to a viable Palestinian state.”