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Israel denies halting demolition of Palestinian homes

Israeli soldiers stand guard during the demolition of a Palestinian home in Hebron, West Bank on 21 January 2016 [ Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Israeli soldiers stand guard during the demolition of a Palestinian home in Hebron, West Bank on 21 January 2016 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied reports of an alleged freeze in government orders to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied territory.

Israel’s newspaper TheMarker recently reported that Netanyahu and Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, had agreed “discreetly” to freeze demolition orders that targeted what they described as “unlicensed Palestinian buildings” in the occupied territories. The decision was said to be implemented “under certain conditions”.

But Netanyahu later described the news as “groundless”, calling on the government to “enforce the demolition orders against the unlicensed Palestinian homes”, according to Israel’s 0404 news site.

Last month, the Knesset approved a bill known as the Kamenetz law, which aims to accelerate the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories under the pretext that they were built without the nearly impossible to obtain construction permits.

Israel frequently uses home demolitions to control and punish Palestinians living under its occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Since 1967, when Israel occupied the Palestinian territories, at least 48,000 Palestinian homes and housing structures have been demolished.

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