HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities delivered four demolition notices on Wednesday ordering several Palestinians to remove water tanks being used for irrigation in the northern and eastern areas of the town of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, locals said.
The water tanks are used to irrigate lands in the areas of Beir Zaata, al-Furdeis and Thaghret al-Shabak, with an overall area of more than 30 dunams (7.4 acres) dependent on the tanks for irrigation, according to Muhammad Awad, a spokesperson for a local popular committee.
The tanks were set up earlier in 2016 under a UN-funded water development program, Awad said.
After Israeli authorities deliver a demolition order, the owners of the properties have seven days to remove the structures. If not, Israeli forces demolish the structures at the financial expense of the owners of the property.
Awad told Ma’an that the tanks belonged to Wahdi Hamdi Zamel Abu Maria, Jamil Muhammad Amer Abu Maria, Ghassan Muhammad Abed al-Aziz Brighith, and Khalid Youssef Abed al-Majd Brighith.
It remains unclear what legal pretext Israeli authorities used to issue the demolition orders.
Israel has come under international condemnation over repeated demolitions of EU-funded structures, with some accusing the Israeli government of demolishing Palestinian structures in retaliation for the EU’s decision in November to enforce labeling laws that would indicate if a product was produced in one of Israel’s 196 illegal settlements.
Since the start of 2016, Israeli forces have demolished 586 Palestinian-owned structures, leaving 800 Palestinians homeless in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to OCHA.
According to the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions, Israeli forces have demolished over 48,000 Palestinian homes and structures since the start of the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.