This month, 30 structures were demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) displacing 43 people- including 16 children- and affecting a staggering 3,898 people. Inside Israel, two structures were demolished in Taybeh, and in the Naqab desert a house was demolished in the village of Al Araqib. Since the beginning of 2018, close to one quarter of demolished structures and people displaced or affected by demolitions in East Jerusalem were in the neighbourhood of Al ‘Isawiya.
- All the demolitions and confiscations were claimed to be on the grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit, except for a factory that was demolished on the grounds of allegedly violating environmental regulations. Many of the demolished structures supported agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods.
- An agricultural road in the region of Salfit was partially demolished on the grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit affecting 3,776 people.
- 35 people, including 14 minors, from four herding communities in the South Hebron Hills were displaced, representing the largest displacement reported in one day since the beginning of 2018.
- 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, 20 were given in one day alone in a village in the Jordan Valley.
- A new military order was published at the beginning of the month, targeting Palestinian structures in Area C.
- The Khan al-Ahmar community and school will be demolished at the beginning of June 2018.
Full list of Demolitions:
- On 1 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Qalandiya, East Jerusalem affecting six people.
- On 1 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a charcoal factory belonging to three Palestinian families in Ya’bad, Jenin, citing the violation of environmental regulations. The demolition affected the livelihood of 15 people.
- On 1 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a three-story building in Al ‘Isawiya, East Jerusalem, displacing eight people from two households and affecting 25 people from five households. The building contained residential apartments and shops.
- On 1 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Shu’fat, East Jerusalem affecting seven people.
- On 2 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a house under construction and a shop in Taybeh, Israel.
- On 2 May, 2018, early in the morning, a large number of Israeli forces arrived at four neighbouring communities in the Masafer Yatta area, which is closed by the Israeli military for training (‘firing zone 918’), in the South Hebron Hills: Khirbet Jinba, Khirbet al-Mirkaz, Khirbet al-Halaweh and Khirbet al-Fakhe The forces demolished six dwellings, five of them currently occupied and one seasonal, displacing at least 35 people, including 14 minors, representing the largest displacement reported in one day since the beginning of 2018. The forces also destroyed a storage unit, six livestock pens and three water tanks, and confiscated three solar power units.
- On 3 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure and confiscated its contents in Beit Ummar, Hebron.
- On 7 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished five structures in Beit Safafa, East Jerusalem, affecting 30 people from five households.
- On 7 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished two structures in Qalandiya, East Jerusalem, affecting ten people from two households.
- On 8 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Al ‘Isawiya, East Jerusalem, affecting seven people.
- On 9 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in Duma, Nablus, affecting six people.
- On 9 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished a structure in the unrecognised Bedouin village Al-Araqib, in the Naqab desert, Southern Israel.
- On 16 May, 2018, Israeli forces demolished part of an agricultural road providing access to land for farmers in Haris, Salfit, affecting 3,776 people from 630 households.
- On 27 May, 2018, Israeli forces delivered demolition orders to 20 houses in the village of al-Aqaba in the Jordan Valley. The forces notified the residents that the demolitions will occur within a period of 60 days. The local residents that their homes have been slated for demolition have reported that they have valid construction permits issued by the Construction and Organization Committee of the village.
New Military Order against Palestinian Structures in Area C
On 9 May 2018, a new military order was published, targeting Palestinian structures in Area C. The Norwegian Refugee Council has published the main elements of the order which was published on 8 May, 2018, and will become effective 60 days thereafter. The order will further be valid for two years following its publication date.
- The order further expands the authority of the Israeli Civil Administration officer/inspector in unilaterally deciding to demolish an “unlawful” structure within 96 hours, irrespective of the status of the underlying land.
- The new order – in general – does not require the issuance of a Stop Work Order (SWO).
- The owner of the structure has 96 hours to furnish a building permit, after which the inspector can authorize its demolition.
- The order includes certain exceptions, whereby the inspector cannot demolish the structures immediately, but rather must issue an SWO:
– If 6 months have passed from the day the structure was completed;
– If the building has been inhabited for 30 days;
– If the structure has a valid building permit, the owner can submit a written request to cancel the order within 96 hours from receiving the order;
– If 120 days have passed since the new order was delivered, but not executed;
– If there is an approved master plan covering the structure.
- If the demolition takes place in contradiction to the procedures stipulated in the order, the beneficiary is entitled to request compensation.
- The submission of a building permit following the issuance of the new order will not cancel the order nor protect the structure from demolition. Furthermore, any correspondence or petition to the ICA, the planning committee or any other entity will not be considered as an application to cancel the order.
It is apparent that this new military order is an attempt to counter ‘preventive legal action’ implemented by legal aid actors, by circumventing potentially lengthy appeals and court litigation which has proven quite successful in preventing or delaying demolitions until now. This Military Order will thus potentially have a detrimental impact on Palestinian communities in Area C. Newly-built Palestinian structures, not covered by a Master Plan, will be particularly at risk.
Communities facing heightened risk of forcible transfer
The ongoing legal case of Susiya, South Hebron Hills
On 14 May, 2018, the Human Rights organization Haqel had reported that: “The State submitted a request to postpone its response for an additional six months in order to await the Defence Minister’s decision regarding the issue of adjacent side and its effect on the zoning plan for the village of Susya.
Regarding the seven structures slated for immediate demolition, the State stressed that the demolition of these structures is a top priority but did not commit to a specific time frame.”
Khan al Ahmar
On 25 May, 2018, Att. Shlomo Lecker who represents the Khan al Ahmar community reported that the High Court has approved the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar School and community: “The Israeli High Court just published Justice Sohlberg’s verdict, rejecting the Khan al-Ahmar petition against the demolition of the community and school. The petition by the settlement of Kfar Adumim to demolish the Bedouin community will be erased, because it exhausted itself (got what it asked for).”
28 families will be evicted at the first stage. The families will be granted time until the beginning of June 2018 to organize themselves for the eviction.
The “tyre” school will be demolished as well, and a new school structure, which will be based on a temporary exemption, will include seven structures for classrooms, an administration structure, and bathrooms. It can receive 150 pupils. The structures will be built with MoD funds, and connected to permanent water and electricity infrastructure.
The state stressed that in order to coordinate the moving of the school and residential structures, the Civil Administration is willing to conduct an additional specific dialogue with the residents of Khan al-Ahmar.