Updates

House demolition

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.

August 18

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.

July 1

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.

June 29

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.

June 23

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