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.
Since Sept. some 220 Palestinians (incl. about 100 minors) have been forced to leave their homes in the Jordan Valley on multiple occasions to make way for military training. Families from Ibziq, Khirbet Humsah and Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar have had to spend hours on end, or even all night, far from home and exposed to the elements. The frequency of these displacements completely disrupts residents’ lives and jeopardizes the very existence of these communities. As an occupying power, Israel cannot use the land for routine military purposes, harm the livelihood of protected persons on this pretext, or attempt to expel the residents.
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.
Today, 20 Nov. 2016, Civil Administration officials handed evacuation orders to 14 families in Ibziq, north of Tubas. The families, 78 people, including 42 minors are to evacuate from Monday early afternoon to Tuesday morning, and for the same time Tuesday to Wednesday. They will have to spend two nights outside, away from home. The military has been training extensively throughout the Jordan Valley in recent weeks, turning out scores of residents in Palestinian communities in these areas, which Israel defines as firing zones.
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.
On 29 August 2016, Israeli forces came to M’azi Jaba’, a community to the northeast of Jerusalem. The forces demolished four homes belonging to three families, as well as three animal pens, leaving 28 people homeless, including 19 minors. Since the start of 2016, the Israeli authorities have demolished 203 homes around the West Bank, leaving 823 people homeless, including 432 minors. This demolition campaign highlights Israel’s increased efforts since the beginning of 2016 to displace Palestinians from Area C.
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.
In Jan.-June 2016, Israeli authorities demolished 168 dwellings in Palestinian communities in the West Bank, making 740 people homeless (incl. 384 minors), more than in any one year in the past decade (except 2013). Demolitions are carried out only in Area C, which comprises about 60% of the West Bank, and which Israel views as primarily meant to serve its own needs, and in East Jerusalem. Demolitions play a key role in Israeli policy in the West Bank to displace Palestinians and take over their land. Demolitions and devastating communities do not fulfill “the rule of law”. Rather, they are a longstanding, systematic dispossession to which all Israeli authorities are party.
B’Tselem information showing Israel demolished more homes in Palestinian communities in the West Bank in the first half of 2016 than in the entire previous year will be presented today at a Knesset conference on Israel’s Area C house demolition policy. From January to the end of June 2016, the Civil Administration demolished 168 homes, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless, 384 of them minors. Throughout 2015 the Civil Administration demolished 125 homes, leaving 496 Palestinians, including 287 minors, homeless. Over the last decade, from 2006 to 30 June 2016, Israel demolished at least 1,113 Palestinian homes in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem).
On 14 June 2016, despite the 104°F heat in the Jordan Valley, Israeli authorities seized a tractor on which Palestinians depend to carry water to their flocks and delivered demolition orders for spring water reservoirs that are vital to another Palestinian community. This conduct clearly illustrates Israel’s routine abuse of its power against Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, exacerbating the existing water shortage caused by the fact Israel does not allow them to connect to the water supply.
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.
The occupation is 49 years old. That’s 17,898 days. International law defines occupation as a temporary situation, but after nearly 50 years the reality in the West Bank and Gaza can no longer be considered temporary. It is unreasonable to keep hoping that Israel end this situation of its own volition. As the occupation enters its 50th year, B’Tselem presents the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza. The facts are well-known. Equally well-known is that standing idly by means perpetuating the current situation. Determined action is needed now to clearly demonstrate the termination of local and international cooperation with the occupation.
On 26 May ‘16, the Civil Administration notified 58 families from 5 Palestinian communities in the northern Jordan Valley that due to military training in the area, they must leave home for varying stretches of time from 30 May to 1 June. In ‘Ein al-Meyteh, al-Burj and Khirbet al-Malih, 27 families were temporarily displaced for 9 hours. In Khirbet Ras al-Ahmar, 14 families were displaced, some on all three days and some on one, for 9 to 14 hours a time. Khirbet Humsah suffered most: 19 families were displaced for many hours on all three days; on one, they were made to stay far away at night, too, and on another they were only allowed to return at midnight.
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.