Hundreds of Palestinians protest against Israeli home demolitions in Qalansawe

QALANSAWE, Friday, Hundreds of Palestinians, including a number of Arab lawmakers, on Friday took to the streets in Qalansawe, an Arab town in Israel, protesting the impending demolition of 17 homes in the town by the Israeli occupation authorities.

The protest was organized by High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, which has said that buildings set for demolition were constructed on privately owned land upon which the Israeli government has no right to infringe.

The protesters waved banners condemning the policy of the Israeli government which they described as aimed at driving the native Arab citizens out of their land. They also chanted slogans calling on Arab citizens to unite in the face of the policies of the right-wing Israeli government.

In January, the so-called Israel’s Planning and Construction Committee ruled that 17 homes in Qalansawe were built illegally, but citizens of the town, including the mayor, said that if the demolitions are carried out, they could have drastic consequences.

The municipality has submitted a number of maps and all the solutions available, but has not received any response from the Israeli authorities, said the mayor of Qalansawe, Abdel Basset Salameh.

He continued, All legal, judicial and organizational methods have been closed in the face of the municipal council This is a deliberate act. They [the Israelis] aim to push us out of our land, but our people are steadfast and will not surrender.

Critics of the policy have said the Israeli government uses demolition of homes in Arab towns as a means of appeasing right-wing Israelis outraged by the demolition of illegal Jewish outposts in the West Bank such as Amona.

Currently, thousands of Palestinian-owned homes in Israel are scheduled for demolition, with many accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government of selectively carrying out demolitions in Israel’s Arab communities in order to distract the public from the ongoing police probe into his alleged criminal dealings.

In 2017, eleven homes in Qalansawe were demolished, with authorities claiming that they had been built illegally without permits on agricultural land not zoned for buildings.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA)