On 2 June 2015 the Jerusalem Municipality bulldozers with police escort, arrived to the Abu Khaled family home in Silwan, to demolish two apartments built by the family. The family had no choice but to build without a permit since Jerusalem Municipality policy is to deny permits to residents of this and other Palestinian neighborhoods. One family member climbed to the roof to try to prevent the demolition. He was pepper-sprayed, forcibly taken off the roof, and arrested by the police. Relatives who demanded his release were also attacked with pepper-spray and physical violence. City workers demolished the two apartments.
Since the Nov. 2014 attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in which Palestinians killed four worshippers and wounded seven, the authorities have threatened punitive action against the assailants’ families: demolition of the homes and deportation the wife of one of them, Nadia Abu al-Jamal. She and her children may be cut off from family and friends and denied many official services. The children would lose their state health insurance. Israel must stop punitive measures against family members who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
Yesterday, 10 June, the military again evacuated Palestinian residents of Khirbet Humsah from their homes for 7 hours so soldiers could train on their land. The residents returned to find their farmland burnt and unexploded ammunition nearby. They are to be evacuated again on 16 June. The military also served three other communities in the area, similarly evacuated last month, with evacuation orders for 11 and 17 June. Israel must immediately stop this and other actions taken as part of the policy to expel Palestinians from the Jordan Valley.
On 4 June 2015, Civil Administration officials demolished five tents and several livestock pens in the Palestinian shepherding community of al-Mukasar in the northern Jordan Valley. Aid organizations provided the families who were left homeless with new tents. This latest act is part of a longstanding Israeli policy to displace thousands of Palestinians who live in dozens of small communities throughout Area C, to enable de facto annexation of this part of the West Bank to Israel.
The High Court of Justice is enabling the Civil Administration to demolish the village of Khirbet Susyiya, in effect ejecting the residents from their land, even as their petition appealing the rejection of their master plan for the village is still pending. At any moment, the Civil Administration might now demolish the village homes, leaving the residents with no shelter in harsh desert conditions. This mode of operation by the Israeli authorities allows them to take over additional lands and drive out communities from Area C. The absence of official annexation aside, the reality of the matter is that annexation and dispossession are already here in actual fact.
A Civil Administration representative accompanied by soldiers arrived this morning at Khirbet Susiya, the South Hebron Hills and photographed and measured structures there. Based on past experience, residents fear the CA is preparing to demolish the village shortly and eject them from their land. This further to Justice Sohlberg’s decision to not issue an interim injunction on demolitions as sought by the residents in a petition that argued that the CA rejected their master plan for immaterial reasons. This harsh, unlawful move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C to facilitate the takeover of Palestinian land for settlements and the removal of Palestinian communities from Area C to Areas A and B in preparation for the annexation of lands to Israel.
At any moment, the Civil Administration might demolish all homes in Khirbet Susiya, expelling the residents from their land. This follows a decision by Israel's High Court of Justice to not issue an interim order to prevent the demolition, given in a petition filed by the residents and Rabbis for Human Rights arguing that the CA rejected their master plan for unprofessional reasons, using a double standard and discriminating against Palestinians. This harsh, illegal move is part of Israel’s policy in Area C to facilitate annexation of lands to Israel.
Palestinian women from Beit Hanoun found shelter with their families at an UNRWA school. They tell of the rough living conditions after losing their homes and speak of their hopes for the future. According to UN figures for Beit Hanoun, 90 homes were destroyed and 24 others damaged during Operation Protective Edge.
On 18 March 2015 the Civil Administration demolished the tents of 4 of the 9 families in Khallet Makhul. It had previously demolished all structures there in 2013, which were then rebuilt by the residents who petitioned the HCJ, leading the CA agreed to allow the residents to apply for building permits. Approval for the applications is pending, so there is no authority for the current demolition, even by the CA’s regulations. Demolitions are part of a long-standing Israeli policy to displace thousands of Palestinians in Area C. Israel, as the occupying force, must allow the local population to carry on with their lives, allowing them to build legally and preserve their way of life.
This morning, Civil Administration bulldozers returned to the Jordan Valley, demolishing the homes of four families and farming structures in Khallet Makhul and a farming structure in the village of al-Hadidiyah. The Administration also confiscated two waters tanks in the 200-person village of al-Farisiyah, which is not connected to a water supply network. A more detailed report will follow B'Tselem's investigation of the incidents. Follow B'Tselem's Facing Expulsion Blog.
Mar. 4, Israeli authorities demolished all structures in Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah in the northern Jordan Valley, for the second time this year. Bulldozers raked the dirt road leading to the community, preventing access by car. This cruel harassment of a particularly vulnerable population is part of Israel’s policy aimed at displacing thousands of Palestinians from communities throughout Area C. B'Tselem urges Israel to allow residents of Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah to remain where they have lived and grazed their flocks for 25 years without interference.
Last night (18 Aug.) the military demolished the homes of two of the suspects in the abduction and killing of the three yeshiva students, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, near Gush Etzion two months ago. The home of a third suspect was sealed. The homes were demolished after the HCJ denied three petitions filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, leaving 23 innocent people, including 13 minors, without a roof over their heads. The HCJ's ruling is not surprising: for decades, the HCJ has denied the vast majority of the petitions filed against punitive house demolitions and refused to recognize the unlawfulness of this practice.
It is unsurprising that the HCJ rejected HaMoked’s petition against demolition of the home of the 2 Palestinians charged with killing Baruch Mizrahi as it has rejected most such petitions against punitive home demolitions, refusing to recognize their unlawfulness. Since 1967 the military has rendered homeless thousands of people not themselves accused of wrongdoing. The military gave up this policy in 2005, yet the state considers it justified now in view of the circumstances. This unreasonable position is meant to sanction draconian measures of collective punishment in response to the charged public atmosphere in the wake of the abduction and killing of 3 yeshiva students.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the family home of the two Palestinians indicted for the attack that killed Baruch Mizrahi be demolished. Two families numbering 13 individuals, including 8 children, live in that home. Demolition of the home would equal adoption of an official policy that harms the innocent. "We have nowhere else to go. If the house is demolished, we'll put a tent on top of the ruins and live there" said Hanan ‘Awawdeh to B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'abri, who visited her last week and took the photos. Following an urgent objection filed by Israeli human rights organization HaMoked, the military announced its intention to demolish only the section of the house. The military is set to carry out the demolition tomorrow, Monday, at 12:00 midday.
The intention to demolish the family home of the two Palestinians charged with the killing of Baruch Mizrahi means adopting an official policy of harming the innocent. The two suspects will be tried for the attack, and are expected to be sentenced to long periods of detention. Their family members, who are not suspected of any offence, are the ones who will suffer the loss of their home: 13 people are currently living in the house, including 8 children. Years ago, the army concluded that punitive home demolitions are not an effective measure to deter attacks against Israelis. It seems therefore that the motives are reaping revenge and politically capitalizing on the current public mood in Israel, in light of the abduction.
On 27 Jan. 2014 Jerusalem’s Municipality demolished homes and other buildings in East Jerusalem. A B’Tselem field researcher documented these demolitions as well as one by a homeowner compelled to demolish his own home. The photos illustrate Israel’s policy of maintaining a Jewish majority in Jerusalem by significantly restricting development in Palestinian neighborhoods. Israel has also seized nearby land and built Jewish neighborhoods there. Municipal master plans for Palestinian neighborhoods are far from meeting residents’ needs.
On 16 Sept. 2013 the Civil Admin. demolished all structures of Khallet Makhul, a Bedouin community. For over a week, the military kept the residents from erecting any shelter. On 24 Sept. Adv. Tawfiq Jabareen applied on behalf of the residents to the HCJ, which issued an interim injunction on expulsion or demolition of homes, pending a ruling. The residents have since erected tents, some which the military has demolished–contrary to the injunction, leading Adv. Jabareen to apply to the State Attorney’s Office. On 6 Oct., 11 tents were on-site.
On 19 Aug. 2013, Israeli authorities demolished all the homes of the Bedouin community of Tal ‘Adasa, north of Jerusalem, and gave them ten days to leave the spot. The community is being forced to relocate elsewhere in the West Bank, outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, although they have lived in the area since the 1950s, albeit never registering as East Jerusalem residents. As no housing alternative has been found for the entire community, its 40-odd members and their flocks will have to split up for the near future.
On 19 Aug. 2013, the Ministry of the Interior demolished all the homes of the Tal ‘Adasa Bedouin community, located near Beit Hanina, after pressuring its members to leave the area since 2005. Although the community’s dozens of members have lived within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem since the 1950s, they are not registered as residents of East Jerusalem. Since the Separation Barrier was built there in 2006, they have been trapped in a narrow enclave under Jerusalem Municipality jurisdiction, isolated from the rest of the West Bank. B’Tselem calls on the government of Israel to acknowledge the rights of the community, which has no other place to live, having lived in the area for decades. The authorities must find a solution to the problem that is acceptable to the community members. Demolishing their homes and expelling them constitutes a violation of international law and will leave them homeless and without a source of livelihood.
In its 2012 report, published 19 May 2013, the Freedom of Information Unit in Israel’s Ministry of Justice noted, “We found one unit, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), institutionally wanting in upholding the Freedom of Information Law – a finding that has been reinforced by court appeals and rulings.” This parallels B’Tselem’s experience, for example in its 23 December 2012 request to the Civil Administration regarding demolition orders and building permits. The Civil Administration repeatedly delayed its response, forcing B’Tselem to take legal action. Finally, after six months, on 9 June 2013, the Civil Administration provided a partial response.