Israel demolishes houses, store in West Bank

13:48, April 15, 2010      

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Israeli forces demolished three houses and a store in two West Bank cities Wednesday, witnesses said, fueling fears of larger-scale razing operations in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Two of the houses were destroyed in the holy city of Bethlehem and the third house and the store were in Salfeet town.

A Xinhua photographer said that bulldozers, backed by forces, rolled into Al-Khader area in Bethlehem and wrecked a house near the cement barrier Israel has been building across the West Bank since 2002.

Ali Saleem, the owner of the house, said it is the second time that Israel destroyed his house which provided shelter for his seven-member family.

"At the first time, they claimed that I don't have a license to build the house, but in fact they wanted us to leave the area for the route of the wall," Saleem said, referring to the barrier.

Israel prevents construction of Palestinian houses in the West Bank areas that are not under the full control of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Tensions in the West Bank has been high for months following the suspension of peace talks between Israel and the PNA in late 2008.

In February, Israel classified two shrines in the West Bank as national Jewish sites, sparking a wave of Palestinian protests. More demonstrations and daily clashes take place between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators who are often accompanied by international peace activists.

A recent Israeli military order considers any person who lives in the West Bank without having an Israeli permission as an infiltrator that can be deported or jailed for seven years.

Palestinians fear this military rule would end the presence of the international activists who lead the popular resistance against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:燕勐)

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