RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli authorities on Thursday demolished a mosque in the West Bank, saying it was “illegally built.” Ahmed Al-As’aad, the Palestinian official monitoring activity of occupiers in the West Bank, said officials of the Israeli Civil Administration, a military department responsible for the coordination of civil affairs in the West Bank, arrived at the Yarza village and demolished the mosque.He said the Israelis arrived at Yarza, southeast of Jenin, and declared the village a closed military zone to prevent people from protesting against the demolition of the mosque which was built in 1967.Al-As’aad said the residents of the area have documents that prove that the building was constructed in 1967. The official said that villagers expanded the mosque by an additional two rooms to meet the demand of the increasing population. Yarza is home to some 200 Palestinians who work in farms and rear sheep.
The Israeli Civil Administration said the mosque was demolished because it was built in Area C without the needed license from Israeli authorities. It added that the Palestinians usually build their mosques in Areas A and B.According to the Oslo Agreement, Area A is under Palestinian administrative and security control, Area B under Palestinian administrative control but under Israeli security and Area C under full Israeli control.Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, condemned the demolition. “The demolition of the Yarza mosque is part of a series of Israeli occupation attacks against Palestinian people and their religious sites. This is clear proof the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want peace or any negotiation at all,” he added.Hussein called on Arab and Muslim countries and the international community to help stop the destruction of Palestinian religious sites by Israel – Arabnews