Updates

House demolition

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.

February 9

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.

October 7

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.

August 26

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.

August 19

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.

July 7

60% of the West Bank is designated Area C, under exclusive Israeli control. It is home to 180,000 Palestinians and includes most West Bank land reserves. Israel, citing “state lands” or “firing zones”, largely prohibits Palestinian construction. Israel’s planning policy ignores local needs: refuses to recognize villages or draft plans; blocks development and infrastructure hook-ups; and demolishes homes. Thousands are in danger of expulsion for living in firing zones or “illegal” communities. Israel has appropriated most water sources and restricts Palestinian access to them.

June 5

Israel has reportedly decided to advance construction in the E-1 area of Ma'ale Adumim, connecting the settlement to Jerusalem. Such a move would have severe implications for human rights in the West Bank, cutting the West Bank in two, exacerbating the isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and posing a particular threat to Bedouin communities living in the area.

December 2

On 19 July 2012 the State responded to the High Court petition by south Hebron hills residents against expulsion from their homes. For the first time, the state clarified the “operational necessity” for a live firing zone and reiterated its demand to expel most Palestinians from the area. The state’s response ignored the illegality of its actions under international law. Israel must cancel the south Hebron hills live firing zone declaration and allow residents to remain in their homes, work their land and herd their flocks.

August 27

On Tuesday, 12 June 2012, Israel’s Civil Administration distributed demolition orders to over 50 temporary structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya in the South Hebron Hills. Residents were given three days, until 15 June 2012, to appeal the orders through the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council. Residents are planning to submit their opposition today (14 June 2012).If the demolition orders are carried out, this will be the third time that Israel has tried to expel the residents of Susiya from their lands.

June 14

Israel's Civil Administration is planning to forcibly relocate some 27,000 Bedouins living in Area C in the West Bank. At first, 20 communities, comprising some 2,300 people, will be uprooted from the area of the Ma'ale Adummim settlement and relocated to a site next to the Abu Dis garbage dump, east of Jerusalem. Members of the Khan al-Ahmar community explain how the move will affect them.

January 12

January 2012
In 2011, volunteers in B'Tselem's camera project filmed over 500 hours of footage in the West Bank. There are two minutes we collected from it, in order to sum up the passing year.

January 2

In the past week, the Civil Administration demolished 33 residential structures in Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley and the southern Hebron hills, in which 227 persons lived, 129 of them minors. Since the beginning of 2011, the Civil Administration has demolished 103 residential structures in Area C, in which 706 persons lived, 341 of them minors.

June 21

In the past four months, the Civil Administration has demolished all the structures in Khirbet Tana, a Bedouin village of 250 people in the Jordan Valley. Following the completion of the demolition, on 2 March, only a mosque was left standing in the village. The demolition is part of Israel's ongoing attempt to expel the Bedouin from the Jordan Valley.

March 15

B'Tselem again calls on Israel to conduct an independent and effective investigation into the serious suspicions of violations of human rights and of international law it committed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Willingness to examine the policy that guided the forces, and not only isolated incidents, is vital for the morality of Israeli society.

January 18

In its end of year summary, B'Tselem warns that the continued siege on Gaza and the settlement enterprise prevent any real human rights improvement. There was a decline this year in Palestinian casualties, and in rocket-fire at Israel, as well as easing of West Bank movement and a decision to ease imports and exports from Gaza. At the same time there was a dramatic increase in house demolitions and restrictions on demonstrations.

December 28
September 27

Last month, the Civil Administration demolished all the structures in al-Farsiya and in other Bedouin farming communities in the northern Jordan Valley, delivered dozens of demolition and eviction orders in additional communities, and confiscated water pumps.

August 12

On 21 June 2010, the Jerusalem municipal planning committee approved the demolition of 22 houses in the Bustan neighborhood of Silwan, in order to build an archeological garden.

June 28

B'Tselem is today (Monday, 14 June) publishing its annual report on human rights in the Occupied Territories, covering the 16-month period from January 2009 to April 2010. The report surveys the events since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead. One and a half years after the operation, the allegations regarding breaches of international humanitarian law by Israel and Hamas have yet to be properly investigated.

June 14

The al-'Athamneh family lost its house during Operation Cast Lead, its orchards, and the taxis it operated. A year later, the family is living in a tent next to the rubble of its house and has no source of income.

December 31