Israel has demolished eight houses and ships belonging to Palestinians in a residential area northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers arrived in al-Gharbi village on Wednesday morning and immediately began tearing down the structures, Ma’an quoted the town’s mayor as saying.
"They were homes and shops right on the main street, but the army said they were illegally built in ‘Area C’," Gassan Abu Salem added.
The bulk of Israeli settlements and their roads are to be located in the so-called Area C, where Tel Aviv rules out any interference of the Palestinian Authority
Residents from the Palestinian village protested the move with a group of youths hurling stones at the Israeli forces guarding the construction equipment.
The Israeli move to raze the buildings, citing "illegal construction," has raised concerns among Palestinians, who say the targeted area is home to many of the village’s 1,500 residents.
"The matter is indicative of the occupation authorities’ ongoing determination to eradicate the Palestinian presence in these areas for the benefit of Israeli settlers and settlements,” Abu Salem said.
The new demolitions coincide with Amnesty International’s criticism of Israel for efforts to remove the Palestinian population from the West Bank through the demolitions.
Amnesty says Israel has declared parts of the West Bank as a closed military zone. According to the organization, most of the Jordan Valley has been announced a closed military zone or has been taken over by some 36 Israeli settlements.