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Hundreds of Palestinian homes await demolition decision

The people of Arrabeh Al-Battouf , in the Upper Galilee, and Wadi Hasin neighbourhood, in the eastern part of Hebron, await the results of the local planning session, expected to end today, due to determine whether or not their houses will be demolished.

The families' houses have been threatened with demolition; however, in the case of a final ratification of the neighbourhood's master map, the danger will be removed in its entirety for the hundred homes. It would also enable owners to obtain the necessary permits for the houses to prevent long court cases and heavy fines being imposed.

Residents, especially those of Wadi Hasin, underwent a long struggle protesting against the demolition and demanding licenses to be granted for their homes and to stop the exorbitant fines.

Activist Salam Shalash, who built his house without any permits, said: "We are awaiting the decision that should be coming out on Tuesday, and we hope the final ratification of the map of the neighbourhood will put an end to the nightmare and suffering the residents have endured for years, not to mention the prosecution and heavy fines and lack of stability."

Shalash affirmed that the residents are living in cautious optimism and anticipation of the final decision for the commission approving the master plan, eagerly awaiting the moment they can end their suffering and stress, which has been ongoing for over 20 years.

He thanked all those who contributed and worked hard for the adoption of the master plan, asserting that the construction will also give hope to tens of young couples and enable them to build, as well as returning stability, psychologically and physically.

A few months ago, the local organising committee in Al-Battouf announced their plans to finalise the master plan to solve the housing crisis and unauthorised construction in Arrabeh Al-Battouf, and to incorporate the new area of the village, including the hundreds of unlicensed houses threatened with demolition.

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