Thursday, February 23, 2006

US-funded park demolished in West Bank

23 February, 2006

NABLUS: Using a bulldozer, the Israeli army yesterday destroyed a US-funded public park, including a children’s playground and swimming pool, in a West Bank village, witnesses and officials said.

The bulldozer, protected by a force of Israeli soldiers, demolished the park in Azzun, close to the northern town of Qalqilya, on the grounds that it had been built without permission of the Israeli authorities in the occupied territory.

Construction work on the park had begun in November last year and was almost completed, said Azzun mayor Ihssan Abdellatif.

He said that the project, that cost around $120,000, had been financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

“I can confirm that the park that was destroyed today was funded by USAID,” said agency spokeswoman Anna-Maija Litvak.

The spokeswoman added that USAID had contributed around $80,000 towards the cost.

No immediate reaction was available from the Israeli army which regularly demolishes buildings that it says have been constructed without authorisation.

The army also destroyed two other houses yesterday, built “without permission” in two other villages in the Qalqilya area, according to Palestinian security sources.


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