32 structures were demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) during January 2018, displacing 37 people- 11 of whom are children- and affecting a further 82 people. In the Naqab desert, South Israel, two demolitions were carried out in Bedouin villages.
Al Muntar school – one of 61 schools in the West Bank currently at risk of demolition – will be at imminent risk of demolition as of the beginning of February 2018. The community has led a long fight trying to save the only school in the small village located in the Jerusalem Periphery. Hundreds of children are fighting for their right to receive a basic education on a daily basis throughout the Occupied Territories.
The struggle to prevent the first wave of demolitions of some 20 structures in Susiya, South Mount Hebron is nearing its end with the community’s lawyer exhausting all legal possibilities. The case is currently pending in the Supreme High Court.
• On 2 January 2018, an agricultural structure was demolished in Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem affecting one person. The structure was demolished on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit.
• The same day, in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem the family house of Imad Ayyad was demolished by Israeli forces displacing two people and affecting seven others. The House was demolished on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit.
• On 4 January 2018, an agricultural structure was demolished in Al Khadr, Bethlehem on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit, affecting eight people from 2 households. Additionally, Israeli forces bulldozed four dunums of land, damaging around 400 tree saplings on grounds that the area has been designated as “State Land”.
• On 16 January 2018, a Bedouin family was forced to demolish their own house in the Bedouin village of Umm Batin in the Naqab desert, South Israel after receiving a demolition order from the Israeli authorities claiming they had built without an Israeli issued building permit. The family were instructed to either demolish their own home or bare the cost of the demolition by an Israeli demolition team. Like many others, the family opted to self demolish their own home to avoid the high cost of demolition fees. In 1999 the Israeli government decided to recognize the village, despite the state’s recognition, the village houses are not connected to the national electricity grid, water system or waste removal system. Lacking a detailed master plan, its residents are not able to request building permits leaving villagers exposed to house demolitions.
• On 17 January 2018, a house was demolished in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem. The demolished house is owned by the Haddad family, who said that they repeatedly, and for several years, tried to obtain building permits from the Jerusalem Municipality to no avail, the municipality rejected all their requests. The Haddad family reported that during the demolition Israeli soldiers detained the family in one room, and started demolishing several sections of the house, which was rendered unsafe. They added that the Israeli forces had also chopped down and uprooted several trees around the property.
• On 18 January 2018, during a wide scale military operation in the Wad Burkin area of Jenin, reportedly aimed at arresting the suspected perpetrators of a shooting attack on 9 January 2018 that resulted in the killing of an Israeli settler, four structures that belong to the Jarar family were demolished, displacing 16 people from 3 households.
• On 23 January 2018, The Israeli army ordered a Palestinian man, Nasri Nimer Abed Rabbo, to vacate and demolish a room he had built in the Cremisan area of Beit Jala on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit. This is the fourth time Israeli forces have demolished a structure he has built adjacent to the cave in which he lives, on his privately owned land. Mr. Abed Rabbo’s fears have increased due to a wall that is being built by Israeli authorities in the area. Once the wall is completed he will have very limited access to his land, if at all.
• On 24 January 2018, seven structures were demolished in the Jordan Valley area on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit; in Al Jiftlik-ash-Shuneh one structure was demolished affecting seven people and in Al Jiftlik-abu al ‘Ajaj six structures that had been provided to families in the Bedouin community as a humanitarian response to a previous demolition, were demolished once again, displacing six people and affecting ten others from two households.
• The same day, in the Naqab desert, South Israel, Israeli forces demolished the unrecognised Bedouin village Al Araquib. The Israeli forces demolished the tin shacks the residents have built since the previous demolition, leaving many displaced in the harsh winter weather.
On 21 July 2010, the entire village was demolished by the Israeli authorities, ever since, Israeli security forces have returned and demolished the village 124 times. The residents continue to wage a legal struggle for their village and hold regular weekly vigils, demonstrations and rallies. The residents of Al Araquib demand that the Israeli state recognize the village in the location it is in today and allow them to live in an agricultural village on their own lands.
• On 29 January 2018, Israeli authorities demolished two multi-storey buildings in the village of Bir Onah, Beit Jala. The buildings were under construction and consisted of 3 floors each, and 9 housing units altogether. According to local residents, at least a quarter of the houses in the village have received demolition orders by the Israeli authorities.
• On 30 January 2018, Israeli forces demolished 12 structures in Al ‘Isawiya neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit, affecting 45 people from 9 households.
• On 31 January 2018, Israeli forces demolished 2 structures in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit displacing 8 people
• The same day, in Ar Rifa’iyya, Hebron Israeli forces demolished a structure on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit, displacing 4 people.
Communities facing heightened risk of forcible transfer
Susiya, South Mount Hebron
On 15 July 2015, the State of Israel forwarded a list which included 15 so-called “unlawful construction” files slated for demolition. The Human rights organization “Haqel-In Defense of Human Rights” submitted a response to the court on 28 December 2017, stating that a large percentage of these structures were constructed prior to the judicial order of June 2012 and subsequent to its expiry in May 2014. Haqel emphasized that these structures did not deliberately violate the judicial order and were essential for urgent humanitarian reasons.
On 7 January 2018, the Court ordered the State to provide details of the dates of construction and respond to the claims of Haqel that these structures were built to fulfill critical humanitarian needs. The furnishing of these details would constitute adequate “warning”, making it possible to executive the orders within 15 days of the issuing of the warning unless the Haqel submit an application for injunctions against the demolitions within 7 days from the receipt of the warning.
Three days later, on 10 January 2018 the organization received notification that the State plans to demolish the original list of 15 structures with immediate effect. That list related to some 20% of buildings which allegedly violated a judicial order. The buildings slated for immediate demolition included two clinics, the only council office and numerous residential buildings.
Within days another interim injunction was submitted by Haqel and in response, the High Court Judge Naor granted a temporary” injunction, to prevent the demolition of 15 “illegal structures” (relating to 20 buildings), until a further decision is reached following the State’s response.
On 26 January 2018, the State rejected the claims made by Haqel- that repairs which were carried out on structures as a result of damage following harsh weather were necessary. The Court’s decision will be determined after Haqel’s response, but this is dependent on whether the Court is willing to accept their request to respond. There is a chance that the Court will not allow them to respond this time round. It is important to note that all possibilities to save these structures have been exhausted.
Al Muntar school
The community members and their lawyer are continuing their efforts to prevent the demolition of the school which will be at imminent risk of demolition as of the beginning of February 2018.
On 25 January 2018, a detailed plan for the school and kindergarten area was submitted to the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), with a few missing documents to be provided later on by the community.
Following this, the lawyer sent the ICA a letter arguing that they must review the plan and that the school must not be demolished before the plan is reviewed.
The community asks that the ICA put the demolition on hold until the plan is reviewed, and that the plan be considered seriously. The children in Al Muntar have no other school to go to and demolishing their school, which is in an area that was previously approved for planning, is unjust, violates their right to education and contradicts Israel’s obligations as the occupying power.