BETHLEHEM, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Israeli occupation forces demolished Monday four houses that belong to Palestinians in the south Bethlehem town Al-Walaja in the West Bank.
Palestinian sources said that three homes were leveled to the ground by Israeli authorities, while they forced the owner of a fourth one to demolish her own home at her own expense to avoid a substantial fine imposed by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality.
The owner of the fourth home, Hanan Razem, stopped the process of her home demolition after neighbors intervened to help her.
The Israeli forces, who stormed into the town in the early hours of the morning, clashed with residents who attempted to stop the demolition, injuring at least 16 Palestinians with rubber coated bullets and tear gas grenades that were used to disperse the civilians.
Israeli sources said the demolition orders came due to lack of permits by the house owners.
According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israeli authorities approved only 1.5 percent of building permits applied by Palestinians.
According to Palestinian sources, over 97 percent of Al-Walaja's area, which is mostly agricultural land, is classified as area (C) under the Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
Almost 2.6 percent of the town's area, which is a residential area, was classified as area (B) under the same accords.
Under the interim Oslo Accords signed between the PLO and Israel in 1993, the West Bank is divided into three zones: A, B and C, with area (A) being under Palestinian control, (B) being under Israeli security coordination and Palestinian administrative control, and (C) being under full Israeli control.