Nine families from around Bethlehem are to be made homeless after Occupation forces this week issued them with notice that their homes are to be demolished.
The Occupation also announced the construction of 307 units in the nearby Har Homa settlement, which pushes up against the edge of Bethlehem.
The demolition orders hit areas across the Bethlehem district. In Um Rukbe, south of al-Khadr, West Bethlehem, six houses close to the Apartheid Wall and settler-only road were targeted: five are newly built and one is in the final stages of construction.
Further orders were issued in Nahalin village, west Bethlehem for a house belonging to local man Saidi Ahmad Najajra, in Za’atara east of Bethlehem for a four story house belonging to Issa Mahmoud Ta’mre, and in Ras al Wad to a large house belonging to Ibrahim Mahmoud Awad Salahat.
The Occupation uses the permits system to prevent Palestinian communities from expanding. Palestinians in areas such as Bethlehem are refused permission to build to accommodate the population, forcing many to build without the permit. The Occupation then destroys the homes with impunity. Construction in adjoining settlements continues unchecked.
The restrictions on Palestinian communities are compounded by the Apartheid Wall. Around al-Khadr, the first village to be targeted yesterday, the Wall when completed will confiscate around 22,000 dunums of village land, leaving them with just the 2,500 dunums of built-up area. 70% of the Wall is now complete around the village.
The Occupation has put a temporary freeze on construction of the wall, as they have run out of money for the illegal project. There has been no freeze on the expansion of the illegal settlements that encircle Bethlehem, however, or on the issue of demolition orders for Palestinian homes. The nine Palestinian families face a bleak winter under the threat of being made homeless.