House demolition

This month, Israel demolished 20 homes and 13 other structures in Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank, leaving 53 people – including 25 minors – homeless. In 2016, thus far, Israel has demolished 188 Palestinian homes on grounds of “lack of permit”, the highest number since 2006. This is part of an Israeli policy to step up demolitions, implemented although Israel is formally engaged in “structured dialogue” on the matter with the European Union and despite recent international condemnation in the Quartet Report.

Still from video.
August 11

Today, Sunday, 19 June 2016, Civil Administration and military forces came to the Palestinian community of Wadi Ejheish, which is known as “south Susiya” as it lies some five kilometers south of the village of Khirbet Susiya. The forces demolished the homes of two families that number 21 people in total, including four women and 14 minors. The forces also demolished two livestock pens. One of the demolished homes had been donated by a humanitarian aid agency.

Residents of Wadi Ejheish watch their homes being demolished. Photo by Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem, 19 June 2016
June 19

On Monday, 16 May 2016, a large force of Civil Administration and Border Police personnel arrived in the Badu al-Baba community, near al-‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. The forces dismantled and confiscated ten trailers, which were home to 49 people, including 23 minors. The trailers were recently donated by a humanitarian aid agency to families who had until then lived in tin and wood shacks. The community has about 350 members, roughly half of them minors, and lives in the area designated by Israel as Area E1, where it plans to expand the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to create a contiguous urban link to Jerusalem.

Civil Administration personnel dismantling trailers in Badu al-Baba, covered by border police officers, May 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of the community.
May 18

On 7 April 2016, Israeli authorities carried out extensive demolitions in six Palestinian communities in the West Bank, five near the Ma’ale Adummim settlement and one, Khirbet Tana, in the Jordan Valley. Authorities demolished nearly all structures in Kh. Tana; it is the fourth demolition the community has undergone since February. All told, 34 structures, including 19 homes, 12 livestock pens, and three entrances to cave dwellings were demolished, leaving 112 people homeless, including 55 minors. Since January 2016, demolitions in Area C communities have left 563 people homeless, including 305 minors.

Ruins of structure demolished by authorities, Bir al-Maskub. Photo by Mus’ab ‘Abbas, B’Tselem, 7 April 2016
April 10

More demolitions this morning in the Jordan Valley and Ma’ale Adumim Area. Wave of demolitions, today, Apr. 7, in several West Bank communities including E1 and repeat demolitions in Khirbet Tana in the Jordan Valley. Earlier this week, the authorities demolished 6 dwellings in Um al-Kheir, South Hebron Hills, and 2 in Wadi al-Qalt. The recent action has left 43 people homeless, including 26 minors. It is part of a demolition campaign launched by Israel in early 2016, in which 128 dwellings and 138 other structures in vulnerable communities have already been destroyed, leaving 510 people, including 275 minors homeless.

Residents of Um al-Kheir in the South Hebron Hills, against the backdrop of a bulldozer destroying structures in the community. Photo: Nasser Nawaj'ah, B’Tselem, 6 April 2016.
April 7

On 23 March 2016, Civil Administration and military forces came to Khirbet Tana to the east of Beit Furik and demolished 17 homes, 21 livestock pens, and five outhouses, two of them donated by the European Union. The forces also blocked the entrances to five caves and demolished a water reservoir built with the assistance of a Palestinian association. Six of the residential tents demolished were donated by an international humanitarian aid organization. This is the third demolition operation in the village since the beginning of 2016. The acts of destruction left 85 people homeless, including 30 minors.

Ruins of an outhouse donated by the EU. Photo: Abdulkarim Sadi, B'Tselem, 23 March 2016.
March 24

On 22 March 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a family tent and livestock pens and confiscated a solar panel in the Palestinian communities of Khirbet Jenbah and a-Taban in Masafer Yatta. This came a day before the HCJ hearing in the principled petitions filed by residents against the declaration of the area as Firing Zone 918 in an attempt to expel them from their homes. These structures were apparently not included in the orders prohibiting further demolition, issued by the HCJ after previous demolitions in February.

Civil Administration bulldozer demolishing a residential structure in Khirbet Jenbah in Masafer Yatta, 22 March 2016. Photo: Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem.
March 24

Tomorrow, 23 March 2016, Israel’s High Court of Justice will hold a hearing on a petition filed by the residents of Masafer Yatta against the Israeli Authorities' intention to expel them from their homes due to the establishment of "Firing Zone 918." The hearing will be the first held in the case since the two-year mediation process between the parties failed. Immediately after the mediation attempts ended, Israel destroyed 22 homes in the communities of Khirbet Jenbah and Khirbet al-Halawah. Ahead of the hearing, we visited the communities to learn about their current reality and legal situation. We visited Khirbet Jenbah, Khirbet al-Fakhit, and Khirbet al-Mufaqarah, and looked out over Khirbet Bir al-‘Eid and illegal outposts Mitzpe Yair and Lucifer Farm.

Mother and daughter Zeinab and Rasmiya Abu ‘Arram by their livestock pen in Khirbet Jenbah. Photo: Osnat Skoblinski, B'Tselem.
March 22

In the first week of March, authorities demolished 17 dwellings, 19 livestock pens, and a school in two Jordan Valley communities, rendering 64 people - incl. 28 minors - homeless. These actions are a direct continuation of the unusually massive demolition campaign authorities launched in Palestinian shepherding communities across the West Bank. Since Jan., authorities have dismantled and demolished 203 structures, including 105 dwellings, in communities threatened with expulsion; 435 people, including 234 minors, lost their homes. This consistently applied government policy constitutes the forced transfer of protected Palestinian residents in an occupied area.

Residents of Khirbet Tana near entrance to residential cave demolished by the authorities. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 2 Mar. 2016
March 8

This morning, 29 February 2016, Civil Administration (CA) and military personnel arrived at the community of Khallet Khader in the region of al-Farisiyah in the northern Jordan Valley. They demolished five dwelling tents, which were home to 19 people, including five minors. They also demolished three livestock pens in use by Khallet Khader families. The tents had been given to the families by the Red Cross after the CA demolished 21 structures in the community on 11 February 2016. The community of Khallet Khader is located in the region of al-Farisiyah, which the military had termed a firing zone, and near the settlements of Shadmot-Mehola and Rotem. The community’s residents are farmers and they raise goats and sheep. Some families live on site only for certain seasons of the year.

Residents at Khallet Khader this morning. Photo by ‘Araf Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 29 Feb. 2016
February 29

Additional demolitions since we reported the early 2016 demolition campaign: On Feb. 20, Israeli authorities confiscated two large caravans used for expanding the Abu a-Nuwar school, where some children study in other communities due to overcrowding. On Feb. 15, 32 structures, including 10 homes were demolished in Ein a-Rashash, leaving dozens homeless. These demolitions and confiscations are part of an unusually massive demolition campaign the Israeli authorities launched in Palestinian shepherding communities in the West Bank in Jan. 2016.

Children at the school yard where the Civil Administration earlier confiscated caravans. The settlement Ma'aleh Adumim appears in the background. Photo: Mus'ab Abbas, B'Tselem, 23.2.2016
February 25

As of Jan. 2016 Israeli authorities stepped up efforts to expel Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, Ma’ale Adumim area and the Jordan Valley, demolishing 73 homes and 51 other structures, some donated by aid agencies. Israel recently announced plans to demolish many more structures in Kh. Susiya, expel Abu a-Nuwar’s residents, and reported its failed mediation with Masafer Yatta. All are part of a policy whereby Area C is to serve Israel rather than West Bank Palestinians. Restrictions Israel imposes in Area C force all West Bank Palestinians to live in crowded enclaves without land reserves for building, farming, infrastructure, health and education services or freedom of movement.

Toddler against background of ruins in Khirbet al-Halawah, Masafer Yatta. Photo by Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem, 4 Feb. 2016
February 16

Over three days during the past week, the authorities demolished 22 dwellings in the Jordan Valley, along with 41 other structures used for storage and livestock, leaving 59 people, including 28 minors without a roof over their heads.

Stranded UN vehicle on razed access road to Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 10 February 2016.
February 11

On 4 Feb. 2016, Civil Administration (CA) officials came to the Palestinian community of al-Mkassar in the northern Jordan Valley with bulldozers and a military escort. They proceeded to demolish four tents that were home to two families – a total of 19 people, including 12 minors and eight livestock pens. These families had already lost their homes in a previous demolition in June 2015. Later that the day, CA and military forces came to the community of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills, where they dismantled and confiscated two tents that were home to a family of 8, including 6 minors. The tents were donated to the family after their two previous tents were demolished about two weeks ago, on 20 Jan. 2016.

Civil Administration bulldozer razing a livestock pen in al-Mkassar in the northern Jordan Valley. Photo: ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 4 February 2016
February 4

Yesterday, 2 Feb. 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 22 homes in two Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, leaving 110 people, including 64 minors, homeless in mid-winter. The communities lie in an area declared by the military as Firing Zone 918. This comes immediately after the end of unsuccessful mediation between Israeli authorities and the communities, which now plan to renew their legal battle against attempts to expel them from their land.

Demolition in Khirbet Jenbah, 2 Feb. 2016. Still from video by Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem.
February 3

The authorities have begun demolishing structures in the village of Khirbet Jenbah, in the 918 Firing Zone, in the Southern Hebron Hills. This is following the termination of the arbitration process between the residents and the state.

February 2

Since the beginning of 2016 Israel has demolished eight Palestinian homes in the area defined as E1 and two homes in the South Hebron Hills, including one in Khirbet Susiya, where residents have struggled for years against expulsion and settler takeover. These demolitions serve Israel’s policy to create immutable facts on the ground ahead of any future agreement. This longstanding policy, which creates an impossible daily reality for Palestinians in Area C, constitutes forced transfer of protected residents within the occupied territory.

Demolitions in Khirbet Susiya. Photo: Nawa'jah family, 27 Jan. 2016
January 27

From 12 to 14 Jan.2016, B'Tselem documented Civil Administration harassment of five Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, in continuation of efforts to force Palestinians out of Area C. In Kh. ‘Ein Karzaliyah, structures were photographed, apparently ahead of repeat demolitions; in Kh. ‘Einun, forces destroyed agricultural structures and a water reservoir; and in Yarza and Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, families were informed that they would again be displaced for military training.

Civil Administration bulldozer razing agriculture structure in Kh. ‘Einun. Photo: ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 14 January 2016
January 17

In the early hours of 13 January 2016, representatives of the Civil Administration and the military came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet a-Rahwa, which lies south of the town of a-Dahariya and close to the settlement Tene. The force demolished a tent that was home to a family of nine, including seven minors, and a livestock pen that belongs to the family. The force also confiscated a solar panel donated to the family by humanitarian aid organizations. The family’s tent had already been demolished a year ago and re-erected since.

The demolished tent. Photo: Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem, 13 Jan. 2016
January 14

Op-ed by Yael Stein, Director of B'Tselem’s Research Dept., first published in Ynetnews. In response to allegations that torture was used in interrogating the suspects in the torching of the Dawabsheh family home that killed three people, PM Netanyahu was quick to reassure: “All the investigations are being conducted in accordance with the law”. The question is not whether a given act is in accordance with a specially tailored law. The fact that something is legal does not make it justifiable. Sometimes the fact that something is legal serves only to illustrate the bankruptcy of legislative mechanisms.

Sleep deprivation, one of the “special measures”. Illustration by Ishai Mishory.
December 30