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Israel to demolish four Palestinian houses in Bethlehem

The Israeli occupation authorities today notified to demolish four inhabited Palestinian houses in al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem, according to a local source.

Ibrahim Awadallah, a local activist, said that Israeli forces handed four brothers from the village notifications to tear down their houses, located in Ein al-Jwaiza neighborhood, northwest of the village, purportedly for being built without licenses.

This area of al-Walaja has been targeted by Israel for several years in an attempt to empty it of its Palestinian residents in order to build illegal settlements on its land. Several Palestinian-owned homes have been demolished in the village under the pretext of building without a permit, which is impossible to get from the Israeli occupation authorities.

Located at a horizontal distance of 5 kilometers to the west of Bethlehem, al-Walaja has a population of some 2,800 and occupies a total area of 4,328 dunums.

Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given limited control over a small pocket of land occupying 113 dunums and accounting for only 2.6 percent of the village’s total area. This area is classified as Area B. In contrast, Israel maintains control over the remainder, classified as Area C.

An area of 4,209 dunums of the village, accounting for 97 percent, is completely isolated by the section of Israel’s apartheid wall. The majority of this land is agricultural land, forests and open spaces.

The village is flanked by two Israeli colonial settlements; Gilo from the east and Har Gilo from the south.