Israeli forces demolish mosque for third time
By Rizwan Khatik - Wed Oct 12, 3:16 am
The demolition took place in the village of Khirbet Yarza, some five km east of Tubas in the northeastern corner of the West Bank.
The mosque has been demolished twice before, once in February and before that in November 2010, when troops razed the mosque, its much larger extension, and various animal stables.
The military could not immediately confirm the latest demolition but in the past has said it razed the mosque because it was built without required permits and located inside a firing zone.
Khirbet Yarza is located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control and where all construction and planning issues come under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Administration.
Area C comprises around 60 percent of the West Bank.
Figures from the Israeli NGO Bimkom show that around 95 percent of Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected, with the Civil Administration only granting around 12 permits a year.
United Nations figures show that in 2009, Israel destroyed 180 Palestinian structures in Area C, including 56 residential buildings.
Meanwhile, the UN human rights office called Tuesday for Israel to stop Jewish settlers from attacking Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, accusing the army of failing to restrain settlers while being quick to use force against Palestinians.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Israel has a legal obligation to protect Palestinian civilians and property.
“There appears to be certainly a partial siding with the settlers, and perhaps not intervening strongly enough to protect the Palestinian villagers,” Colville told reporters in Geneva.
He cited the fatal shooting of a Palestinian by an Israeli soldier in the West Bank village of Qusra on Sept. 23, the beating of two minors detained by troops the same day, and the uprooting of 200 olive trees in the village on Oct. 6.
“The accountability for settler violence against Palestinians is less than adequate, let’s say, and certainly not comparable to the reverse cases,” said Colville. “When Palestinians attack settlers there’s always very, very strong reaction.”