Israeli military forces demolished a number of homes and steel structures south of Nablus on Monday, a Palestinian official and an Israeli spokesperson said. Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that dozens of military vehicles raided the village of Khirbet al-Tawil and demolished steel structures, water wells, and several homes made from corrugated iron, without providing further details.
An spokesperson for Israel's (military) Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) confirmed the demolitions in a statement. "Today (Monday) early in the morning security forces carried out the demolition of 7 buildings that were built illegally inside firing zones," the statement said. "The sites were demolished after its owners appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice and their appeals were erased with their consent to exhaust possible procedures."
COGAT said the firing zones, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, were used by the Israeli army "on a regular basis for trainings."
On April 29, Israeli forces demolished a mosque and three houses in Khirbet al-Tawil, affecting 29 people, 21 of which were minors, a statement by the EU said. EU missions in East Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned the demolitions and called on Israel "to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including by halting the forced transfer of population and demolitions of Palestinian housing and infrastructure."
Khirbet at-Tawil is affiliated to the town of Aqraba in the Nablus governorate and located in its eastern land part overlooking the Ghor region. It has a total population of 1500. A number of ancient khirbets from the Roman and Islamic eras are located in its vicinity, including Tel Al Khashaba, Khirbet Maras at Tin and Khirbet Al Orqan. Old cisterns and wells are spread all over the agricultural lands related to Khirbet at Tawil as a sign of long human existence.
Around 50000 dunums of agricultural and grazing land are related to the Khirbet at Tawil and Aqraba town. A small portion of this land is classified as zone B (under Palestinian civic affairs and Israeli security) while the bigger portion is classified as zone C (under total Israeli civic and security affairs) according to Olso agreements. On this land three settlemenst have been built: Jettit, Ma'ale Efraim and Itamar.
The Khirbet at Tawil land is known for its fertility as it is cultivated with cereals and ground seasonal crops. Also, it is used as grazing fields for more than 30 000 heads of sheep and goats as well as 1500 head of cows. The area is vital for securing the West Bank food basket.