Defying accusations of possible war crimes in the occupied territories, Israeli forces demolished 16 Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, according to a local activist and residents on Wednesday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Eid Khamis, a Palestinian activist, said eight structures were brought down by Israeli forces in Ein Hajla Bedouin community east of Jericho in the eastern West Bank. He said Israeli authorities cited a lack of building permits for the demolitions. Eight other homes were razed south of Hebron city in the southern West Bank, according to local residents. "These demolitions are part of an Israeli plan to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank," Khamis said.
Palestinians have long suffered from the ongoing risk of demolition by Israeli forces. In December 2019, Israel planned to demolish some 18,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. Such actions have been called a "war crime" by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Destroying hope and means of education, as well as a future for Palestinian children and youth, Israeli military forces last year demolished a school in a Bedouin community in the West Bank city of Hebron.
Israel is expected to annex parts of the occupied West Bank under a plan agreed to by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival-turned ally Benny Gantz, the head of the Blue and White party. The plan comes as part of U.S. President Donald Trump's so-called "deal of the century," which was announced on Jan. 28. It refers to Jerusalem as "Israel's undivided capital" and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank. The plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the form of an archipelago connected by bridges and tunnels. Palestinian officials say that under the U.S. plan, Israel will annex 30%-40% of the West Bank, including all of east Jerusalem.