Israeli forces demolish West Bank mosque as peace talks deadline passes

By Reuters Staff
April 29, 2014

(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. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

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.

– by Ali Sawafta in Khirbet al-Taweel, West Bank

via Israeli forces demolish West Bank mosque as peace talks deadline passes | Reuters.

2 comments

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Israel needs a war. They will stop at nothing to start another war. They are particularly upset that the US will not attack Iran or Syria. Since Israel is becoming increasingly isolated and hated for its Crimes Against Humanity, they need a war for a distraction. Destory a mosque and then pretend the Palestinians respond just because they “hate Jews”.

Posted by bbsnews | Report as abusive

Bibi makes me sick, what a dou che he needs! He is going to unilaterally take down Israel, I can not understand why in the world he would want to. L.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive