The Israeli Civil Administration issued eight demolition orders against homes in the village of An Nabi Salih (Ramallah District) on Thursday 10 June 2010. The demolitions will affect more than 40 people, and at least 25 are at risk of displacement.
An Nabi Salih was targeted during the 1st intifada for demolitions, with 4 houses in the village demolished in 1990. Since then no demolition orders have been issued against the village, until last week. Five months ago An Nabi Salih began popular demonstrations against the annexation of village farmland and freshwater springs by the neighbouring Halamish settlement. The Israeli military has used various tactics against the village in an effort to stop the demonstrations, including night raids and arrests of village children, several of whom are currently being held at the Ofer Military Prison. The demolition orders specifically target the family homes of those involved in the demonstrations, including the home of leading members of the village Popular Committee.
The orders, issued by the Israeli Civil Administration under control of the Ministry of Defence, claim that the structures were built without the required permits. The homeowners were told to attend the civil administration planning committee on the 1st July to request permits, ofcourse there is almost no chance that the settler-controlled planning committee will actually issue the permits.
In particular, these demolitions are clearly punitive under the guise of planning and administration, not only infringing the villagers’ rights to housing but also their rights to freedom of expression and association. The demolitions persecute the families of local human rights defenders who advocate to protect the villagers’ land, natural resources and livelihoods.
The Civil Administration demolished some 200 structures, displacing more than 320 people in West Bank villages alone in 2009. Large scale home demolitions continue to be used as a tool by the Israeli occupation forces to quell popular resistence as well as to annex land and force Palestinians into incongruent bantustans dotted across the West Bank.
The villagers will continue popular demonstrations each Friday at 1pm, Israeli and International solidarity activists are welcome.