The new “construction policy” the PM presented to the security cabinet yesterday spells out continued harm to Palestinians, settlement expansion, and breach of international law. Israel granted itself permission itself to go on stealing Palestinian land in the West Bank while barring and demolishing construction by Palestinians. This policy means that Israel will go on building as it pleases, both in and outside settlements, in complete disregard of UNSCR 2334 on the illegality of the settlement enterprise. This policy is no show of good faith; it is unbridled theft masquerading as “restrained construction.”
Planning & building in Area C
Yesterday, Tuesday 14 March 2017, Civil Administration personnel came to the region of the Furush Beit Dajan community. The settlement of Hamra had been established near the community in the 1970s. The Civil Administration confiscated a trailer which served as home to a nine-person family, including two minors. In addition, they demolished a covered shelter owned by two of the community’s families which was being used as a fresh produce market stall, and also ruined the fruits and vegetables on sale there.
In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.
In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years ago, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.
Yesterday, 19 February 2017, large numbers of Civil Administration personnel and police arrived at the Khan al-Ahmar community, which is located near the settlement of Maale Adumim. They served 39 stop-work orders (a preamble step preceding demolition orders) , which apply to all of the community’s buildings, including its school. The school was built in 2009 and also serves children from other nearby communities. Khan al-Ahmar is situated in an area Israel earmarked for the future expansion of Maale Adumim. In 2016, Israeli authorities demolished 12 dwellings in the community, rendering 60 people homeless, including 35 minors.
This morning, 20 Feb. 2017, the Civil Administration demolished the home of an elderly woman – a trailer donated by a humanitarian aid organization – in the Palestinian community of al-Mehtiwish, which lies near Khan al-Ahmar on land Israel earmarked for expanding the Maale Adumim settlement. The CA also demolished a water pipe in the Jordan Valley which residents of Khirbet al-Hadidiyah and Khirbet Humsah had laid with the help of humanitarian organization, as Israel refuses to hook up these communities to the water grid. The pipe had been restored by residents after being demolished by the CA on 10 Jan. 2017.
Today, 13 February 2017, B’Tselem released a new interactive documentary entitled “The Invisible Walls of Occupation”. Viewers are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah, a rural suburb of the city of Ramallah that has become cut off from its urban center through various restrictions imposed by Israel. The documentary has Burqah residents leading viewers on a virtual tour of their village. The project depicts the story of the village and illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.
In 2016 B’Tselem documented a record number of home demolitions by Israeli authorities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, citing illegal construction as a pretext. Israel demolished 88 homes in East Jerusalem and 274 in the rest of the West Bank, while denying Palestinians any possibility of building legally in these areas. This policy, upheld by all state authorities, severely violates the most fundamental human rights of Palestinians and offers decisive evidence as to Israel’s long-term plans: continued control of the area, while oppressing and dispossessing its residents.
This morning, Civil Administration (CA) personnel arrived at the community of a-Ras al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley. They demolished eight structures - including two residential tents - belonging to one of the families in the community. The family of seven, including five minors, was left without a roof over their heads. The CA also demolished six livestock pens that belonged to the family. The community of a-Ras al-Ahmar suffers constant harassment at the hands of the Israeli authorities. Israeli authorities also demolished a livestock pen and two agricultural storehouse in the village of Kardalah.
On Thursday 26 January 2017. Large Civil Administration and Border Police forces arrived at the community of Badu al-Baba, located near al-'Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. The forces destroyed tents that were the homes of three families, and two livestock pens, leaving 17 people, including 9 minors, homeless. The forces did not allow the families to remove all of their belongings from the tents and pens before the demolition, resulting in extensive property damage. The Badu al-Baba community numbers 350, about half of them minors.
Mon. Jan. 23. In Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah, a three-family community 5 km southwest of al-Jiftlik, the Civil Administration destroyed tents used as living quarters by two families, leaving 13, including 6 minors, homeless. Forces also destroyed two livestock pens and razed part of the access road to the isolated community. The authorities destroyed homes in the community in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as well.
On 2 Jan. 2017, Civil Administration forces demolished ten homes and a livestock pen in Wadi Esneisel and Bir al-Maskub, north of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, leaving 78 people homeless, including 52 minors. The next day, the forces continued, demolishing six homes and 16 livestock pens in the community of Khirbet Tana, located close to Beit Furik in the Nablus district, leaving 29 people homeless, including 15 minors. This followed the demolition of 79 structures in the community in 2016.
The report B’Tselem published today shows how Israel has been taking over Palestinian rural space, fragmenting it, dispossessing its residents of land and water, and handing over these areas to settlers. The process is illustrated through a case study of three villages in the Nablus District - ‘Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem - telling what these communities have undergone since Israel established the Elon Moreh settlement nearby. Through this case study, the report illustrates a broader policy Israel has been implementing throughout the West Bank for decades, and in which the settlers play a key role.
In recent weeks, the military has held several maneuvers in residential areas or grazing land belonging to Palestinian communities. Israel claims that the areas are “firing zones,” despite the fact that these communities have lived and worked on the land for many years. The repeated displacement threatens the ability of residents to continue living in the communities. As an occupying power, Israel may not use land for general military purposes, and certainly must not displace the residents or damage their livelihood on these grounds.
On Thurs. Nov. 11, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of Khirbet Tall al-Himma, located in the northern Jordan Valley, south of ‘Ein al-Beida. The forces dismantled six tents and confiscated them together with two tents that had not been pitched yet. Three of the tents had been used as dwellings by members of the community, and the rest were used as livestock pens. These structures were donated to the community this week by a humanitarian aid agency, after the Civil Administration demolished these families’ homes on 27 September 2016, leaving 25 people, 10 of them minors, homeless.
Three communities targeted today as part of Israel’s confiscation and demolition campaign. Jordan Valley: In Kh. a-Deir, forces demolished the homes of 14 people, 4 are minors. In a-Ras al-Ahmar, forces confiscated tractors used for hauling water and feed for livestock. In Wadi al-Qatif, in the Ma'ale Adumim area, forces confiscated water tanks and portable toilets. In the campaign, launched in 2016 in a bid to expel Palestinian communities, Israel has so far demolished 255 homes, and left 1,076 people homeless, including 557 minors.
On 9 Oct. 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 18 homes in the communities of al-Kurshan, near the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, and a-Ras al-Ahmar, in the Jordan Valley, leaving 52 people – including 23 minors – homeless. In the latter, they also demolished 17 livestock pens. In the massive demolition campaign it has waged since the beginning of 2016, Israel has thus far demolished 252 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, leaving 1,062 people, including 553 minors, homeless.
On 27 Sept. 2016, Israel demolished 22 structures, half of them homes, in five West Bank communities: in the northern Jordan Valley, near Ma’ale Adumim, the South Hebron Hills, and East Jerusalem. This left 56 Palestinians, including 30 minors, homeless. The authorities also demolished water cisterns, livestock pens, and part of a school. This is part of a massive demolition campaign to pressure Palestinians to leave Area C that has, since the beginning of 2016, left 1,010 people homeless, including 530 minors.
Israel has exclusive control of the Palestinian water supply in the West Bank. It supplies less water to the Palestinians than the WHO recommends and less than it supplies to Israelis, doing so through inequitable distribution of joint resources, mounting obstacles to prevent the development of infrastructure, demolishing and confiscating infrastructure and barring access to local water resources. In Area C, Israel exploits its full control to prohibit water-grid hookups to dozens of communities. Since June, in order to meet settlers’ needs, the Israeli national water company has further cut back on water supply to Palestinians in the northern West Banks, as it does every summer.
Yesterday (Wednesday, 31 August 2016), military and Civil Administration forces arrived in the afternoon in the community of Badiw a-Mu’arrajat to the northwest of Jericho. The forces dismantled and confiscated three residential caravans, a shack used for raising livestock, and mobile toilet facilities. All the structures were donated to the families by a humanitarian aid organization after the Israeli authorities demolished their homes on 4 August 2016. The destruction left 14 people homeless, including three minors.