Illegal Palestinian Solar Installations Set For Demolition

Over the past two years, German funding and Israeli philanthropy led to the construction of solar installations for Palestinians living in "Area C" in the West Bank. Now Israel says the panels are illegal and wants them demolished.
February 18, 2012, 7am PST | Michael Dudley
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Palestinians living in an area in the West Bank designated as "Area C" are rarely permitted to to build or farm, making life extremely difficult. Things improved dramatically for the residents of over a dozen villages when solar panels and wind turbines were installed. However, according to Der Spiegel, all of this may disappear now that "stop work" orders have been issued by Israeli authorities.

"Electricity here, in the hills south of Hebron, was long unreliable. Either it was not available or it was too expensive, produced for just a few hours each day by a noisy, diesel-guzzling generator. That changed when Elad Orian and Noam Dotan, two Israeli physicians who had tired of conflict, came along three years ago and installed solar panels and erected wind turbines. Since then, such facilities have been installed in 16 communities, providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity.

[Now] Israel has threatened to tear them down with five municipalities in recent weeks having received 'stop work' orders -- the first step on the road to demolition. The problem is that the facilities are in the so-called Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank and is administered by Israel. Permission from the Israelis is a requirement before construction projects can move ahead -- and permits are almost never given to Palestinians."

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Published on Thursday, February 16, 2012 in Spiegel Online
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