Nablus (The Inside Palestine)- Israel is set to demolish a 250 square metre Palestinian reservoir in the northern West Bank village of Furush Beit Dajan, following an Israeli High Court ruling on Friday.
The court cancelled a preliminary resolution which had prevented Israel’s army from destroying the site, which belongs to Palestinian landowner Thabet Abu Thabet.
The ruling has been slammed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and rights groups.
“Israel’s illegal occupation is waging a war even on the water that Palestinians use for drinking and agriculture,” the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement, adding that the decision is part of Israeli efforts to forcibly remove Palestinians from their land.
The reservoir, which provides vital water supplies for drinking and agriculture, was built through with PA support to help farmers facing extreme water shortages.
Israel issued a demolition order on January 5, prompting Abu Thabet to appeal for help from the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center. The centre’s legal team, along with the Wall & Colonization Resistance Commission filed an urgent appeal against the decision.
Israel’s Civil Administration Office, which administers areas under illegal Israeli occupation, rejected the appeal in just five days.
After appealing to the Israeli Prosecutor’s Office for time to form a second appeal, the court denied the appeal and imposed a court fee of 3500 Shekels ($1,092).
The impending demolition marks a further blow to the Palestinian communities of Furush Beit Dajan, after Israel confiscated 11,000 of the 14,000 Dunams of land that make up the area.
The confiscated land is now the site of two illegal settlements – Mehola and al-Hamra – which are supplied with two artisan wells exclusively reserved for settlers.
Efforts by Palestinians to build reservoirs for use in dry months have been hampered by Israeli authorities, who demolished a 500 cubic metre reservoir in July last year.
Some 1200 Palestinians live in Furush Beit Dajan, with agriculture central to their livelihoods.