Bulldozers flanked by Israeli troops razed four Palestinian homes near the ancient city of Jericho on Tuesday, with Israel saying they endangered a nearby archaeological site.
Ammar Fakhuri, the owner of one of the buildings, told AFP it was the third time that Israel had demolished properties he owned.
"They did it twice in the Old City of Jerusalem in 2004 and 2010 and now here," he said, adding that Tuesday's demolition was carried out by two bulldozers with an army escort.
A spokesman for the department within the Israeli defence ministry which administers the occupied West Bank, said the homes were built on government-owned land which was to be used by the nearby settlement of Vered Yericho.
The four structures were built "without permits on state-owned land designated for agriculture," civil administration spokesman Guy Inbar said.
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They were built "near an archaeological site with the risk of endangering it," he added.
Inbar said the four structures were uninhabited and that the house owners, who came from east Jerusalem, had been warned to stop building, but had refused.
In August, a report by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said that Israeli demolitions in the West Bank rose "alarmingly" in the first half of 2011, with 356 structures demolished in the first six months of this year, compared with 431 for the whole of 2010.
It said 700 people had been displaced by the demolitions in the first six months of 2011, compared with 594 in the whole of 2010.
UNRWA said the demolitions took place in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank which is designated as under full Israeli control, in which Israel has designated just one percent of land for Palestinian development.
Israel says its demolitions of homes are based only on whether the structures in question have the appropriate permits.
But the agency said the demolitions seemed to be concentrated in areas "targeted for settlement expansion."