This month, 30 structures were demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) displacing 13 people- including five children- and affecting a staggering 527 people, including 326 children. Inside Israel, two structures were demolished in the town of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, and in the Naqab desert the entire village of Al Araqib was demolished and another house in the village of Ash-Shahabi. (Photos: Israeli forces demolishing a house in Jenin, 23 April, 2018, photo by: IDF spokesperson)
All the demolitions and confiscations- but two- were claimed to be on the grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit: a family house in Jenin was demolished on punitive grounds- the second punitive demolition since the start of 2018, displacing seven Palestinians- and a printing shop in East Jerusalem was demolished on the grounds of alleged incitement. Most of the demolished structures supported agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods.
The Israeli authorities issued dozens of demolition and stop-work orders against structures in Area C in the West Bank for lacking an Israeli-issued building permit, as well as seizing and confiscating heavy machinery- both private and municipality owned.
Two schools were demolished this month: one in the Jabal al-Baba community in the Jerusalem periphery, affecting 151 children, and a primary school in the rural village of Khirbet Zanuta in South Hebron, was demolished twice; the first demolition occurred on 9 April, and the second, a few days later when Israeli forces returned and confiscated the makeshift tents that were erected for the children to continue their studies.
A recent assessment by the UN indicated that 44 primary schools (36 in Area C and eight in East Jerusalem), currently serving about 5,000 children, are at risk of demolition or seizure on grounds of lack of building permits.
Around 80 Children were also affected when one of the few playgrounds in Kafr ‘Aqab, East Jerusalem was demolished.
Full list of Demolitions:
- On 8 April, 2018, three Palestinian families were evicted from their homes in the Silwan neighbourhood, East Jerusalem, after the right-wing organization Elad claimed it purchased the houses. Although the case is still pending in court, the three families- consisting of 15 people- were evicted.
- On 9 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a primary school, consisting of six structures in Khirbet Zanuta, Southern Hebron affecting 31 people. The structures were used as classrooms in a primary school serving 24 students in the rural herding community. The school was only inaugurated on 25 March 2018, along with six other schools that were built to provide education for children in vulnerable communities
- On 10 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a house in Jibiya, Ramallah, affecting eight people. The house, owned by Hijazi Mahmoud was demolished on the grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit.
- On 11 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Ar Ram & Dahiyat al Bareed, East Jerusalem affecting six people.
- On 11 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Al ‘Auja, Jericho affecting one person.
- On 11 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished two houses in Abu Ghosh, located west of Jerusalem. The houses were demolished on grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit.
- On 12 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished and confiscated eight structures in Shuqba, Ramallah, affecting 27 people from four households.
- On 15 April, 2018, Israeli forces confiscated four structures in Khirbet Zanuta, Hebron affecting 31 people. The structures-makeshift tents- were erected after Israeli forces demolished the school on 9 April, 2018. The villagers tried to use the tents so as the children will be able to continue with their studies.
- On 17 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in South ‘Anata Bedouins (Wa’ar al Beik), East Jerusalem, affecting five people
- On 17 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a playground in Kafr ‘Aqab, East Jerusalem affecting over 80 people from 15 households.
- On 17 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished the unrecognised Bedouin village Al-Araqib in the Naqab desert, Southern Israel, for the 127th The village has been demolished 127 times since 27 July, 2010, on the pretext that the lands belong to the Israeli state.
- On 22 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a computer shop in Beit ‘Anan, East Jerusalem, affecting the livelihoods of 17 people. Prior to the demolitions, the Israeli forces seized computers, printers and other equipment, reportedly on the grounds of alleged incitement activities.
- On 22 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a coffee shop near the Qalandiya military checkpoint, East Jerusalem. The coffee shop was located near the main entrance to the Qalandiya refugee camp and served the community.
- On 23 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Jabal al Baba, Jerusalem Periphery, affecting 290 people, including 151 children, from 58 households. The structure was used as a classroom in the community which is located in Area C, and had been provided as humanitarian assistance in response to previous demolitions. Jabal al Baba is one of the 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at high risk of forcible transfer.
- On 23 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a house in Jenin city, displacing a family of seven, including two children. The house was demolished with the use of explosives, and as a result, at least four additional houses were damaged. The punitive demolition targeted the family members of a Palestinian man who allegedly participated in an attack that led to the death of an Israeli settler in January 2018. Although the family members were not suspects and are not connected to the incident, they were issued a demolition order three months ago. All their appeals were rejected by the Israeli court.
- On 24 April, 2018, Israeli forces confiscated a structure in Susiya, South Mount Hebron displacing a family of six.
- On 24 April, 2018 Israeli forces confiscated a structure in Om Ashokhan, South Mount Hebron affecting 12 people from two households
- On 24 April, 2018, Israeli forces delivered demolition and stop-work orders to at least ten houses in Qalandiya, East
- On 25 April, 2018, Israeli forces demolished three structures in Jaba’ (Tajammu’ Badawi) affecting 12 people from three households
- On 25 April 2018, Israeli army forces delivered stop-work orders to two Palestinian families and confiscated machinery on the work site, in Beit Ummar, Hebron. One of the houses was already completed and the other was still under construction. At the same time, Israeli soldiers raided the adjacent village of Beit Zata and confiscated a truck and digging machine, both were being used to dig a well on privately owned Palestinian land.
- On Thursday, April 26, 2018, Israeli government agents escorted by police forces demolished a house in the Bedouin village of Ash-Shahabi, Naqab desert, leaving 14 people
- On 28 April, 2018, a Palestinian resident of Silwan, East Jerusalem, self-demolished his garage after receiving a demolition order from Israeli authorities claiming it was built without an Israeli-issued building permit. The owner of the garage had tried to postpone the demolition in order to try and obtain a building permit but to no avail. He was informed by Israeli authorities that he had until Sunday, 29 April 2018, to demolish his garage otherwise he will have to pay $ 15,000 for the Jerusalem municipality to demolish it.
Communities facing heightened risk of forcible transfer
The village, Located in Southern part of Jerusalem, has been facing increasing pressure by Israeli authorities: preventing any residential development by blocking and/or rejecting any building permits alongside a wave of demolitions, and the construction of the Separation wall, which will completely encircle the village and disconnect it from the rest of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Roughly half of the houses in the Ein Juweza- the residential part of Al Walaja- are under threat of demolition. Most of the demolition orders against these houses were issued in the past two years, during which Israeli forces demolished 11 houses. While many of the residents have pending court cases in an attempt to stop or postpone the demolitions, in almost all the recent cases the court had rejected them. Israeli authorities act immediately after the court’s decision and demolish the house, making it almost impossible to appeal.
(based on a report by Ir-Amim)
Four west bank schools under attack
“1. Al Muntar
On 28 March, 2018 the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) issued its response to the ongoing legal proceedings which are temporarily protecting the Al Muntar school from demolition. The Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) had previously issued a temporary order to stall the demolition of the school. A later interim injunction decreed that no changes be taken by either side and later decreed that as such, pupils must not continue to attend the school. This was decreed despite arguments from the petitioners that pupils had been attending the school prior to the interim injunction being issued. Ultimately the HCJ dismissed the original petition and set an expiry date for the protective temporary injunction to expire on the 1 February,2018.
However, in January 2018 the petitioners issued a renewed petition and attached a detailed plan for the school to be reviewed. The HCJ thus issued a new temporary order to again prevent the demolition of the school in the meantime. On 28 March, however, the State issued its response to this petition and requested that the protective temporary order be revoked and that demolition of the school may proceed on the basis that:
- The school was built without authorization to begin with;
- The original interim injunction was not respected as pupils continued to attend class and construction continued despite court orders;
- No development for this community is permissible in this areas as it is located within a firing zone (previously the ICA had deemed this area suitable for planning)
- Al Muntar pupils may avail of an alternative school in the Wadi Abu Hindi – 2km away – which they claim will not be prioritised for demolition
On 8, April the community’s legal representative submitted a response to the ICA’s argument. Then on the 10, April the HCJ decided that a hearing will be held soon on this case. In the meantime, the school year is continuing.
- Khirbet Zanuta
The community school of Zanuta was dismantled and confiscated on the 9 April,2018, affecting 42 students. The school consisted of 4 caravan classrooms and one kitchen. The school has been provided by the MoEHE and opened on the 25 March,2018 to provide education for 42 children between kindergarten and 6th grade ages.
- Khan al Ahmar
A hearing on the case of the Khan al Ahmar community will take place on the 25 April, 2018, likely placing the whole community at risk of imminent demolition, including the Tire school there.
- Jabal al Baba
A recently-erected structure which serves as a kindergarten, women’s centre and health clinic in the community is under threat. The kindergarten provides for 25 children between the ages of 3-6. The women’s centre serves approx 45 women from the community. Through the health clinic, primary services are provided by a nurse and doctor who visit to the community one day per week in which first-aid kits are available. The existing clinic in Al Azariah is about 3 km away and is not available to community women who do not drive vehicles. In addition, women do not frequently visit the existing clinic because of the disproportionate treatment they receive in the city by medical staff who do not understand the Bedouin way of life and culture and its implications for medical circumstances and the treatment of health problems.
The Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) visited the community at the beginning of the month and assured a community representative that they had no intention to demolish the structure. Several days later, the ICA visited the community again and informed the representative, verbally, that they will demolish the structure on 12 April, 2018. The community lawyer had followed up with a request to the ICA asking not to demolish the structure and to provide the community with a period of one week to submit relevant documents to demonstrate that the structure is only used for humanitarian needs in the absence of alternative services.”
(reported by the Norwegian Refugee Council)
Dqaiqa, South Hebron
“The community of Dqaiqa has been in its current location since before 1967. The estimated 450 residents primarily make a living off herding, and rely on nearby villages for access to services. The community has been subjected to demolitions and demolition orders since 2005. Requests submitted by the community to recognize the village were declined by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), claiming that in light of the small size of the community, and the tribal relationship with the nearby community of Hameiydah, relocating the community to Hameiydah made more sense. The Hameiydah community is also under threat of demolition and does not have an approved outline plan.
In light of this threat, recourse was sought through the Israeli legal system. The first petition to the High Court on behalf of the community ended in 2010 without a positive resolution, but the ICA affirmed that it would allow the community to submit their own outline plan. Even before this plan was submitted in 2011, the ICA demolished 17 structures in the community. The detailed plan submitted in 2011 was rejected by the ICA in 2013, and in 2014, Rabbis for Human Rights assisted the community in submitting a new petition, requesting that the ICA accept their outline plan. Of some 140 structures in Dkaika at the time of the petition, 111 have demolition orders pending (101 orders). 36 additional structures were apparently constructed in the community between the submission of the petition and November 2016.
On 2 November 2016 the parties accepted the court’s suggestion to negotiate and try to reach an agreement. The parties committed to neither build nor demolish structures in the interim, but no injunction to this effect was issued. The sides were given 90 days to reach an agreement.
While awaiting the response to the court decision, a request on behalf of the community for an injunction to prevent demolitions was rejected (5 February 2017). In the state’s response to the petition given in March 2017, the intention to go ahead with the plan to demolish the village and to relocate the community to Hameiydah was restated, offering a one year time-frame, meaning that according to the state’s position at the time, the relocation of the entire community is slated for March 2018.
On 18 April 2018, the Israeli State submitted its reply to the court asking that the case be erased since they do not intend to demolish the structures. They will give 30 days’ notice in case they will need to demolish. For any new changes to the structures, they will give a 7 days’ notice to the community.”
( reported by the Norwegian Refugee Council)
Khan al Ahmar Abu al Helu
Urgent developments have occurred in the case of Khan al Ahmar community, located in the Jerusalem periphery:
”Summary of Wednesday 25 April High Court hearing on the Khan Al Ahmar Abu al Helu case:
The Court heard the following
- Kfar Adumim, Nofei Prat and Alon settlers’ petition to demolish the local school (represented by Regavim lawyer)
- A petition by the village against demolition and forced relocation (represented by Shlomo Lecker)
- A petition by parents of the pupils against demolition of the school (represented by Shlomo Lecker); and
- A request by 15 settlers from Kfar Adumim demanding a “peaceful solution“ to take the rights and voice of the Bedouin into consideration.
The State’s attorney explained that the Jabal West relocation site will be ready in June 2018. The Court heard the Regavim lawyer on behalf of Kfar Adumim settlement insisting on demolition of the school regardless of the relocation plans. The community lawyer argued that the new location (Jabal West) is not viable and that community-driven plans submitted in the past (rejected by the state as unsuitable) were more appropriate. The Court enquired whether the petitioners were talking with the authorities about different locations.
The Court also heard the Kfar Adumim settler activist group’s motion to join the petition. They informed the Court that they have approached senior Israeli security and political figures. Their main message was to prevent the relocation to Jabal West but also not to leave the situation as it is now. They argued for mediation over an alternative site more suited to the cultural and economic needs of the community. No specific alternative site was mentioned by any party throughout the hearing. The State responded that it was not willing to discuss alternative sites, and called for a rapid decision by the court.
After hearing all parties, the Court asked the State whether it would agree to consider an alternative location that would better meet the community needs, if the community agreed to leave Khan al Ahmar Ab al Hilu.
The Court adjourned for consultation by the State’s attorney. On return, the State informed the Court that they categorically rejected the Court’s proposal, and that this is the final position following consultation with high ranking officials in the Ministry of Defense and the Israeli Civil Administration. The community lawyer responded that the Jabal West plan will not solve the issue of 20,000 Bedouin in Area C for the ICA, and that Jabal West has become a political symbol for the Israeli authorities. He said that there should be real planning solutions for Bedouin and that forcible transfer is not a real solution. He also stated that this particular community is not supported by the PA. He emphasized that demolition would cause strategic damage to Israel’s reputation, and that forcible transfer is a grave breach of the Geneva Convention.
The following day, On 26 April, the Israeli High Court issued the following instruction in the case:
“To the extent that the lawyer for the petitioners [the community] has a proposal for an alternative site for which there exists a detailed and valid plan, on the basis of which building permits can be issued (as can be done today with the plan that the State has proposed for the transfer of the Khan al Ahmar compound to Jahalin West [Jabal West]), he may submit such a plan to the Court within one week”.
- it is very difficult to see how the community can show a “valid and detailed plan” to the point of being able to apply for building permits to the Court, bearing in mind that they are not landowners and the context of the discriminatory planning regime in Area C; and
- this instruction appears to suggest that the Court is considering making a final decision very soon on the basis of the community’s response. You will recall that conditions in the proposed relocation site of Jabal West are not viable for the community, and that movement in the current conditions would constitute forcible transfer.”