Masafer Yatta: Israeli authorities issue new demolition orders

Children living in Masafer Yatta, a collection of Palestinian villages with about a thousand residents at risk of losing their homes.

Israeli authorities this week issued two demolition orders for buildings in the village of Ma’een in the south of Mount Hebron, which is a part of the Palestinian cluster of villages that comprise Masafer Yatta cluster in the south of the West Bank. This was after they delivered a demolition order for 5 houses and three water wells on Sunday.

Rateb Jabbour, Coordinator of the Peoples’ Committees in South Hebron said, “the occupation forces raided the area in Masafer Yatta and delivered the demolition order to five houses inhabited by dozens of residents and children.” They also handed demolition orders to three wells and instructed that work must stop in the surrounding lands, Jabbour said.

Last week, the Horiya (Arabic for “freedom”) organization published a press release in which it warned of “the spectacle of the 1948 deportation will repeat itself” in light of the new Israeli government’s decision to deport the residents of 8 villages in Masafer Yatta, where about a thousand residents live.

“Taking over the villages of Masafer Yatta and deporting their residents is the deepening and sanctification of the occupation policy that Israel refuses to recognize and continues to attack the Palestinian Authority and the international community that voted in favor of examining its legality,” Horiya said in their statement. “The actions on the ground show that the occupation continues. Israel is deepening the occupation and working to change the reality on the ground by expanding the settlement enterprise in the West Bank at the expense of the local residents who suffer from the government’s policy of oppression and harassment and repeated attacks by settlers on their lands.”

The Chairman of the Masfar Yatta Villages Council, Nidal Younes, said in a statement to the media last week that the Palestinian liaison unit informed them that the Israeli occupation intends to deport the residents of the 8 villages in Masafer Yatta and evict them in the coming days.”

Last year about 50 demolition operations of facilities and residences in Masafer Yatta took place. Israeli authorities issued 140 demolition orders for housing units and about 160 demolition orders and cessation of activity in Palestinian-owned agricultural and industrial facilities in the Masafer Yatta area.

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