On 14 April 2010, the Israeli Defense Forces demolished multiple homes and commercial structures throughout the West Bank, indicating that a recent lull in demolitions may be coming to an end.
In the village of Al Khadr in the Bethlehem Governorate, a two-storey home that housed a family of nine people, including a one year old, was torn down.
Israeli forces also entered the village of Haris in the Salfit Governorate, demolishing a home and leaving a family of seven, with children ranging from 5 to 14, homeless. The military also destroyed multiple commercial structures in the town, including a car wash and a workshop.
Lastly, in the town of Beit Sahour in the Bethlehem Governorate, the Israeli Civil Administration demolished a Palestinian-owned factory.
The IDF claimed that the structures were demolished because they lacked the proper permits. While this is true, it overlooks the fact that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians the permits from the Israeli Civil Administration that are required to build or expand any type of structure.
Each of these demolitions took place in Area C. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, approximately 61% of the Occupied West Bank, known as Area C, remained under full Israeli control. Approximately 70% of Area C, totaling about 44% of the entire West Bank, is designated for Israeli military and settler use, and is off-limits for Palestinian construction.
In the remaining 30% of Area C several economic and bureaucratic hardships are imposed that eradicate almost all possibilities of obtaining a permit. In effect, less than 1% of Area C is allotted for free Palestinian construction, and that area is generally already built up. Palestinians must therefore build “illegally” at the constant risk of demolition.
While these are the first Area C demolitions since March 14, 2010, the Israeli Civil Administration has carried out more than 60 demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures in Area C since the beginning of 2010.
In addition, during the first two weeks of April, 14 demolition and stop-work orders were given out in Area C, adding to the thousands of structures which could be demolished at any time.
The enforcement and risk of house demolitions in East Jerusalem and Area C are a further instrument of the occupation policies implemented. The unofficial freeze on house demolitions currently present in East Jerusalem marks however a clear sign of effective international pressure. The recent tension between the US and Israel have forced Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat to back down from his plan of re-starting demolitions in East Jerusalem.
International pressure may have a decisive effect in stopping Israel’s policies of maintaining and expanding its control over Palestinian lands. We urge you to join us in making an end to the racist measures implemented to achieve a sustainable and just peace.
If you require any more information on house demolitions in East Jeru
salem and Area C or want to know how to get involved, please contact the ICAHD office or see: