At least four Palestinians have been injured and 26 others left homeless as Israeli military forces demolished several Palestinian houses and residential structures in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
On Sunday, Israeli soldiers and bulldozers rolled into the village of Khirbet Susya and leveled two houses to the ground. The Israeli forces also destroyed a number of structures, including a barn and an outdoor kitchen, in the area.
Jihad Nawajaah, the head of the local council of Susya, said an Israeli bulldozer tore down a two-room brick house, leaving a seven-member family homeless and forcing them to spend the night in the open.
He added that the residents of Susya have been suffering from a “systematic” process of displacement and home demolitions at the hands of Israeli officials.
“In a shocking, cruel, and rare move, Israeli authorities carried out demolitions today in Susya and around Diraat al-Rifaiyya irrespective of the fact that it is the holy month of Ramadan, many are fasting, and the temperatures are soaring,” Israeli rights group Rabbis for Human Rights said in a statement.
The group said that Israeli forces brutally beat up Palestinians and international solidarity activists as the latter stayed inside one of the houses to resist the demolition. Four people were injured. Israeli soldiers also pushed away elderly locals and women.
Some 300 people live in Susya, adjacent to an illegal Israeli settlement of the same name. The villagers live mainly on farmland, and have had no running water or electricity ever since they were driven out of the village’s original location some 30 years ago.
While Israeli authorities have routinely declared that Susya residents lack the appropriate residency permits, villagers say Israeli officials have systematically refused to give them such documents.
This is while Palestinian lands are taken and allotted to illegal Israeli settlements.
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories they are built on were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.