Demolition spree carries on across West Bank; 435 people, incl. 234 minors, have lost their homes since Jan. 2016

Published: 
8 Mar 2016

In the first week of March, Israeli authorities demolished 17 dwellings, 19 pens and animal enclosures, and a school in two Jordan Valley communities: one in the Nablus area and the other near Jericho. A total of 64 people, including 28 minors, were left homeless by the demolitions.

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

On the morning of 2 March 2016, military and Civil Administration personnel came to the community of Khirbet Tana, which is situated to the east of the village of Beit Furik in the Nablus District. They used three bulldozers to demolish 34 structures in the community. They demolished a school comprising two classrooms that was attended by nine students, aged six to ten. The wooden school building was built in 2011 with funding from the Italian aid organization COOPI. In addition to the classrooms, the school had two toilets and a yard with playground equipment. The troops also demolished the following: nine dwellings that were home to 30 people, including seven minors; 16 pens and animal enclosures used by the community’s families to make a living; and a solar panel that generated electricity. The troops also demolished four stone-built entranceways to caves used for residential purposes (the caves themselves were not damaged), as well as four structures - three residential tents and an animal pen - that were not in use as their owners had left the community. One of the dwellings and seven of the enclosures and pens demolished on this occasion had already been demolished about three weeks previously in a 9 February 2016 demolition operation by the military and the Civil Administration. After the previous demolition, the residents of the community received several tents from the Red Crescent, which again donated tents on the day after the latest demolition.

Contents of a family home troops demolished in Khirbet Tana. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 2 Mar. 2016
Contents of a family home troops demolished in Khirbet Tana. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 2 Mar. 2016

On 3 March 2016, military and Civil Administration personnel came to a shepherding community in Wadi al-Qalt, west of Jericho. It is an isolated area with poor access. The children from the community go to school in Jericho, and due to the problematic access they remain in Jericho all week long, returning home only occasionally on weekends. The troops arrived with bulldozers and demolished dwellings and pens belonging to three families who live in two areas that are 300 meters apart. They demolished a total of four dwellings made of wood and tin that were home to 34 people, including 21 minors. They also demolished another dwelling occupied on a seasonal basis that was empty at the time, as well as two structures used for sheep and goats. In addition to the demolitions, the troops confiscated firewood, wire meant to be used for fences for the livestock, and feeding and watering troughs for the livestock. Since the demolition, the families and their livestock have been left without shelter nor have they received any assistance.

Contents of a family home demolished by the troops in Wadi al-Qalt. Photo by Mus’ab ‘Abbas, B’Tselem, 7 Mar. 2016
Contents of a family home demolished by the troops in Wadi al-Qalt. Photo by Mus’ab ‘Abbas, B’Tselem, 7 Mar. 2016

These demolitions and confiscations are a direct continuation of the unusually massive demolition campaign Israeli authorities launched in Palestinian shepherding communities across the West Bank in January 2016. Since the beginning of the year, authorities have dismantled and demolished 203 structures, including 105 dwellings, in communities threatened with expulsion; 435 people, including 234 minors, lost their homes. These demolition operations impose an intolerable reality on the residents of the communities. This governmental policy, implemented systematically for years, constitutes the forced transfer of protected Palestinian residents within the occupied area. Click here for further information about the wave of demolitions that began in early 2016, and about Israel’s policy to expel Palestinians from vast portions of the West Bank.

Residents sheltering under a tree after their home in Wadi al-Qalt was demolished. Photo by Mus’ab ‘Abbas, B’Tselem, 7 Mar. 2016
Residents sheltering under a tree after their home in Wadi al-Qalt was demolished. Photo by Mus’ab ‘Abbas, B’Tselem, 7 Mar. 20166