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As Middle East peace talks move along, so do the demolitions

Burhan Bisharat lost his home last week to an Israeli army bulldozer, but he retains the Palestinian ethos of hospitality, pressing his interviewer to drink more tea as he recounts how he has slept amid the ruins of the dwellings of this tiny village in the occupied West Bank.

''Living on the ground with no cover is hard,'' says the father of eight who, like a dozen other men from Makhul, has been sleeping out in the open because the army blocked them from receiving humanitarian relief tents after the demolition. On a scorching summer day, Makhul's men crowded under the only tree in sight for shade, while a group of Israeli soldiers stood guard nearby to ensure they did not attempt to rebuild shelter.

Israeli defense ministry officials say the demolition of Makhul was a necessary law enforcement measure against unlicensed construction and stress that the Israeli Supreme Court last month rejected a petition against the order.

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