Israeli forces demolish West Bank mosque as peace talks deadline passes

KHIRBET AL-TAWEEL, West Bank Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:16am EDT

1 of 4. A Palestinian man holds damaged loudspeakers belonging to a mosque after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers in Khirbet Al-Taweel village near the West Bank City of Nablus April 29, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

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KHIRBET AL-TAWEEL, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli forces demolished several structures, including a mosque, in a Palestinian village on Tuesday, the day a deadline for a deal in now-frozen peace talks expired.

A Reuters correspondent saw several hundred soldiers deployed in Khirbet al-Taweel, in the occupied West Bank, around daybreak. They guarded six bulldozers that reduced to rubble buildings that were constructed without Israeli permits. Palestinians say such documents are nearly impossible to obtain.

Palestinians saw a link between the demolitions and the passing, without a peace deal, of the April 29 deadline set when the talks began in July. Israel has also drawn Palestinian anger by continuing to expand settlements on land they seek for a state.

Villagers said the stone mosque was built in 2008, and that soldiers removed prayer rugs and holy scriptures before tearing it down.

Other razed buildings included three one-storey family houses, animal shelters and a communal well. Locals said around 30 people were made homeless.

The Israeli army said in a statement that eight structures, including a "mosque in use", were demolished because they had been built illegally inside a dangerous live-fire military training zone.

"I went to make my dawn prayers at the mosque and found the army surrounding it," said resident Abdel Fattah Maarouf, 63. "Then they tore it down. They want this area so they can build settlements in it."

Speaking on local radio, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top Palestinian official, said that "unless acts like this cease completely" there was no room to return to U.S.-sponsored peace talks with "this expansionist, racist occupier".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended negotiations last week after Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization signed a unity dealt with Hamas, an Islamist group that advocates Israel's destruction.

The pact envisages the formation of a government of non-political technocrats within five weeks and a Palestinian election six months later. Israel said such a government would effectively be backed by Hamas and could not be a peace partner.

(Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Jeffrey Heller/Jeremy Gaunt)

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Comments (25)
Chuck890 wrote:
So its ok for Israel to build settlements on others land but not the reverse. When will this bs end?

Apr 29, 2014 9:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TBellchambers wrote:
US Secretary Kerry, compares Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land to the former S.Africa apartheid regime

Having known both countries for very many years, there is little question that there are many similarities between the former ruling National Party in South Africa during apartheid and the current right-wing, Likud Party of Israel, the leader of which is the hard-line, Zionist premier, Binyamin Netanyahu.

In both cases, there was, or is, an attitude of superiority that daily demeans those in the Occupied Territories. A palpable arrogance that proclaims those under occupation as inferior and unworthy of respect.

Of course, there is, in reality, no difference whatsoever in the DNA/gene pool between an Israeli and an Arab; the inequality in performance being due to the education readily available to all Israeli children but usually denied to the Arab family, along with essential living supplies.

Israel has maintained a blockade of essential medical, building, food and other supplies to 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza for now over six years in an unsuccessful attempt to effect an illegal regime change. In the West Bank, so-called ‘pricetag’ terrorists today burn-down olive groves and raze houses in scenes reminiscent of the dreaded SA Police who destroyed the multi-ethnic, District Six in Cape Town in, 1966, forcing its 55,000 inhabitants into ‘Bantustans’ as their district was declared a ‘White Only Area’ by the National Party government.

The word ‘apartheid’ means the state of being apart and was a violent system of racial segregation in South Africa from 1948 to 1994 when global pressure forced a non-violent political change to majority rule.

A near identical position of racial segregation applies throughout Israel today with the occasional Arab and/or Muslim being appointed to office as a token of ‘equality’ when that is patently absent. Virtually every month, the Netanyahu administration authorises yet more illegal housing permits in the Occupied Territories in gross violation of international law, the Geneva Conventions and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

20 years ago, world opinion was instrumental in bringing about political change in South Africa to democratic rule by the largest indigenous people of the region, the Muslim Arabs. It is clear that it is a matter of time before similar pressure forces an identical outcome in former Palestine.

Apr 29, 2014 9:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TBellchambers wrote:
er.. NOT the ‘Muslim Arabs’ obviously! The South African indigenous population.

Apr 29, 2014 10:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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