From the very outset of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, it instituted a planning, development and construction policy whereby construction by Palestinians was restricted while Israeli settlements were allocated very extensive areas for establishment and expansion. Israel thereby created a situation in which thousands of Palestinians are forced – as the only recourse for housing their families – to build unlicensed homes. This remains the policy in Area C, the area still under full Israeli control, which comprises approximately 60% of the West Bank.
This morning (Jan. 8) the Civil Administration demolished all structures in the Palestinian community of Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah in the Jordan Valley, comprised of 10 adults and 15 minors, who have been left with no shelter for themselves or their livestock in the harsh winter weather conditions. B’Tselem Director Jessica Montell said earlier today “Israel has once again forgotten that control entails responsibility. The Jordan Valley cannot be addressed as a merely theoretical issue, discussing its future while completely disregarding the fate of its residents. At the moment, the authorities must set aside their political ambitions and consider the fate of 25 individuals, who do not know how they’ll get through the night and how their flocks, their only source of income and livelihood, will fare.”