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Qalandia continues to fight for justice, two months after several houses demolition

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By PM collaborators - October 04, 2016
Section: [Main News] [Videos] [IN PICTURES] [Features]
Tags: [demolition] [House Demolition] [Israeli army]

Qalandia village continues ti fight, two months after houses demolition

The village of Qalandia is still fighting for justice, after several houses were demolished by Israel end of July.

The most recent demonstration came on September 30, when dozens of locals took part in Friday prayers near the rubble of the destroyed buildings. The event was conducted in a large tarpaulin tent, which protesters vowed to keep up until they received compensation by Israel for the demolitions.

Several families whose houses were demolished have hired lawyers to fight their cases in the Israeli courts. Speaking to Palestine Monitor, beside his mangled house, Sharif al-Abdullah said he “hired a lawyer to follow the [case] in the Israeli courts” with the help of the local Palestinian authorities. But “until now there is no result.”

Nonetheless, al-Abdullah was defiant: “we will remain here until our problem is solved. We need to be able to rebuild these demolished houses.”

Dr Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, was also at the protest. Speaking to Palestine Monitor, Dr Barghouti stated that he visited Qalandia to “be in solidarity with the families that lost their homes…for unacceptable reasons.”

“These are not just buildings, they are the homes of people. These people have no place to stay in. Many of them build their houses in debt. Now they have to pay the debt for the houses that were demolished,” he continued.

For Dr Barghouti, Qalandia is symptomatic of an “Israeli effort to take away Palestinian land, give it to settlers, and prevent Palestinians from building on their own land.”

In the early hours of July 25, Israeli bulldozers destroyed twelve houses in Qalandia, near the Israeli separation wall.

Locals allege that they were only given twenty-four hours warning prior to the demolitions, and were only informed via notices pasted onto the walls of their houses. During the Israeli action, one soldier is alleged to have said that he would turn the village into a “’new Syria.’”

The demolitions sparked clashes between local Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. Several Palestinians were injured in the violence, including the head of Qalandia council, Youssef Awadallah.

These issues ultimately stem from the division of the Qalandia village between Area B and Area C following the Oslo Accords. Area B comes under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, while Area C is controlled by the Israeli military. 98% of Qalandia is in Area C.

Israel maintains that the houses were too close to the separation wall, and had been built illegally. But villagers point out that their requests for planning permission are routinely rejected by Israel. Settlers Watch reports that 94% of Palestinian requests to build in Area C are denied. Contradictory maps also make the extent of Israeli military authority unclear.

The Applied Research Institute (ARI) highlights other problems faced by the residents of Qalandia, including land confiscations for the construction of Jewish settlements. The separation wall is another difficulty. As ARI notes, the wall divides Qalandia in half, with many residents completely isolated from both the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Violence in the area is still ongoing. On September 30, a Palestinian was killed at the Qalandia checkpoint, near the village, after stabbing an Israeli soldier stationed there.

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