Demolition campaign continues: Civil Administration and military demolish additional structures in two communities

Published: 
25 Feb 2016

Additional demolitions since we reported the early 2016 demolition campaign

The Abu a-Nuwar community 

On the night of 20 February 2016, large Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of Abu a-Nuwar, located in an area that lies between the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Qedar. The forces dismantled and confiscated two large caravans donated for the community school by a humanitarian aid agency. The caravans had three classrooms, a staff room, a storeroom and three bathroom stalls. They were placed in the community the day before, 19 February 2016, near the existing school structures, and were meant to serve about forty of the community’s children, who have had to go to school in other communities in the area because of overcrowding in the local school. The forces also confiscated the school desks and chairs that were inside the caravans, also donated to the community.

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
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

The Abu a-Nuwar community consists of more than 100 families, with a total population of about 600, about half of them minors, and is located in an area that has been marked by the Israeli authorities as Area E1, site of the planned expansion of Ma’ale Adumim in order to create territorial contiguity between the settlement and Jerusalem. On 6 January 2016, the authorities demolished five residential tents of families in the community. On 10 January 2016, the authorities returned to Abu a-Nuwar and confiscated the replacement tents donated to the community by humanitarian aid agencies. Residents of the community have been legally battling the plan to expel them for a number of years. In a petition filed in 2015, the HCJ issued an interim injunction prohibiting the demolition of some structures in the community. However, the caravans, like the tents the authorities destroyed since January, were not included in these.

On 28 January 2016, the state notified the HCJ that it had imminent plans to carry out all demolition orders issued against the community and expel all residents to “Jahalin West”, an alternate site located in the Abu Dis area. The state said groundwork at the site had recently been completed. The state also said in its court submission that the transfer of the Abu a-Nuwar community to the new site would serve as a test case for the feasibility of future plans to move Bedouin communities to other “permanent sites”, and its success would allow advancing these plans. The HCJ will hear the petition in April 2016.

The community of 'Ein a-Rashash

On 15 February 2016, Civil Administration staff, accompanied by soldiers, demolished 32 structures, some of them dwellings, in the community of Khirbet 'Ein a-Rashash, south of the Palestinian village of Duma, in the Nablus district. The community is home to 13 families, with some 100 members, including 60 minors. Some of the families live at the site on a seasonal basis, and migrate with the flocks to other parts of the West Bank through some of the year. After the community found out in early February about the Civil Administration’s plan to demolish the structures, four families left the site. They took some of their tents and structures with them, but left some behind. The Civil Administration and the soldiers demolished the dwellings of the nine families who were at the site at the time, the homes of 68 people, including 40 minors. Another tent that was destroyed belonged to one the families that had left. The authorities also demolished 22 pens and animal enclosures belonging to families in the community.

These demolitions and confiscations are a direct continuation of the unusually massive demolition campaign the Israeli authorities launched in Palestinian shepherding communities in the West Bank in January of 2016. Since the beginning of the year, the authorities have dismantled and demolished 158 structures in communities threatened with expulsion, including 83 dwellings, and left 352 people, including 201 minors, without a roof over their heads.

Women in the 'Ein a-Rashash community. Photo: 'Abd al-Karim Sa'adi, B'Tselem, 15 Feb. 2016
Women in the 'Ein a-Rashash community. Photo: 'Abd al-Karim Sa'adi, B'Tselem, 15 Feb. 2016

Contents of a family’s home after it was demolished in 'Ein a-Rashash community. Photo: 'Abd al-Karim Sa'adi, B'Tselem, 15 Feb. 2016
Contents of a family’s home after it was demolished in 'Ein a-Rashash community. Photo: 'Abd al-Karim Sa'adi, B'Tselem, 15 Feb. 2016