During the month of July 2019, at least 66 structures were demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) by Israeli forces, displacing at least 47 people- including 26 children- and affecting a further 7,952 people (according to OCHA oPT).
All the demolitions and confiscations were carried out on grounds of lacking an Israeli-issued building permit. Most of the demolished structures supported agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods.
Full list of Demolitions:
- On 3 July, 2019, the ICA (Israeli Civil Administration) along with Israeli forces confiscated and demolished an irrigation system in Al Jiftlik- Garb al Muthallath, Jordan Valley. According to the family, the irrigation network was 20 km long and was built six years ago. The family did not receive any prior notice about the demolition, and only received a confiscation order on the day of the demolition itself. Four families comprising of 15 people, including six children were affected.
- On 4 July, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished three water cisterns near Dkaika, Hebron, on grounds of building without an Israeli-issued building permit in the seam-zone area. About 1,200 trees were uprooted, and a 800-meter long fence damaged. The fence and the trees were part of a donor funded project to create a small grazing area for local herders from three communities in the area. Around 240 families, comprising 1,200 people, including 400 children were affected.
- On 8 July, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished an under-construction residential house in Beit Ummar, Hebron. A family of eight, including four children was affected.
- On 9 July, 2019, the Israeli Ministry of Interior alongside Israeli forces demolished an under-construction residential building in Az-Za’ayem, East Jerusalem. The town is located within the Israeli-defined East Jerusalem area on the West Bank side of the Separation Wall. The family started to build in June 2019, at a cost of 300,000 NIS and did not receive a demolition order. Six people, including three children, from one family were affected.
- On 9 July, 2019, Israeli forces alongside the ICA demolished an agricultural structure in Zif, Hebron. The structure was demolished under the“New structure”order that gives the Civil Administration officer authorization to demolish a newly built structure in Area C, 96 hours after the issuance of a demolition order. A family of three was affected.
- On 9 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished a commercial structure on Road 60, near Al Fahs, Hebron. A family of four, including two children was affected.
- On 10 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished a metal scrap shop in Idhna, Hebron, in an area that is declared by the Israeli authorities as a firing zone (309A) near the Separation Wall. Three families comprising 11 people, including five children were affected.
- On 10 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished a 340-meter long concrete wall that surrounded two plots of land owned by two families in Hizma, East Jerusalem. The families received a demolition order in 2017 against the construction. Two families comprising eight people, including two children were affected.
- On 10 July, 2019, Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure in Izbat Salman, Qalqiliya, affecting a family of three.
- On 11 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished an agricultural structure, toilet, two greenhouses and two computerized irrigation systems in Kfar Aqab, East Jerusalem. During the incident another greenhouse was partially damaged and fruit trees were uprooted. A family of six, including four children was affected.
- On 15 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the Israeli Ministry of Interior demolished an under-construction building in As Sawahira ash Sharqiya, East Jerusalem, in an area located within the Israeli-defined Jerusalem municipal boundaries on the West Bank side of the Separation Wall. The family who planned to build a two-story building had invested 700,000 NIS in the construction. A family of six was affected.
- On 16 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished an agricultural water reserve pool in Wadi al Ghrous, Hebron. Several Palestinians were beaten by the Israeli army during the incident. 35 people from six families were affected.
- On 16 July, 2019, Israeli forces alongside personnel from the ICA demolished an animal pen in Khribet Ghuwein al Fauqa, Hebron, leaving the herd of sheep with no shelter. A family of eight, including two children was affected.
- On 17 July, 2019, the ICA and Israeli forces demolished a car wash facility, a car painting workshop and a structure used as a sitting area for clients in Al Khalayleh, an area located in Area C on the Jerusalem side of the Separation Wall. Two families comprising 12 people, including eight children were affected.
- On 17 July , 2019, Israeli forces along with personnel from the ICA confiscated two residential tents and five animal pens in the Ein Fares area of Nahhalin, Bethlehem. Four of the confiscated structures were donor-funded as a response to a previous confiscation that occurred in March 2019. Six families comprising 42 people, including 21 children were affected by the confiscation. One man was beaten up by Israeli soldiers during the incident.
- On 17 July , 2019, Israeli forces along with personnel from the ICA demolished a water cistern that was located on agricultural land in Hebron City. Two families comprising of 22 people, including 17 children were affected.
- On 17 July, 2019, the Israeli Ministry of Interior and Israeli forces demolished a commercial building in Silwan, East Jerusalem. Four businesses operated in the building that was built four years ago. A demolition order against the building was issued immediately after the construction was completed, and the owners appointed a lawyer who managed to postpone the demolition until an Israeli court rejected their appeal earlier on in the month, and ordered the place to be demolished. As a result, four families comprising 17 people, including 10 children were affected.
- On 17 June, 2019, Israeli forces along with personnel from the Israeli Civil Administration dismantled and confiscated a plant nursery on Road 60, near Beit Ummar, Hebron. A family of seven, including one child was affected.
- On 17 June, 2019, a Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their under-construction house in Jabal al Mukabbir, East Jerusalem. The family started building the house in April 2019, and immediately received a demolition order. They appointed a lawyer to fight the case, but on 11 June, 2019, the district court rejected the appeal and ordered the house to be demolished. The family had little choice other then demolishing the house by themselves, in order to avoid the high cost of having the Jerusalem municipality do so. Two families comprising 10 people, including six children were affected.
- On 17 July, 2019, the Jerusalem municipality and Israeli forces demolished a car wash facility in Sur Bahir, East Jerusalem. According to the family the structure was built in April 2019, and a demolition order was immediately issued against it. The owners appointed a lawyer and took the case to court, but on 1 July, 2019, an Israeli court ordered the building to be demolished. A family of seven, including five children was affected by the demolition.
- On 17 July, 2019, the ICA and and Israeli forces demolished a structure used for storage in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. According to the family, the structure has been in use since early 2019, and they did not receive a demolition order. A family of four, including two children was affected by the demolition.
- On 18 July, 2019, Israeli forces confiscated a container and closed four agricultural roads in Asira ash Shamaliya, Nablus, affecting a family of nine. During the incident a 50-meter long fence was damaged affecting a family of six. The closing of the roads affected 4,545 people from the area.
- On 21 July, 2019, Israeli forces along with personnel from the ICA demolished six structures (two residential tents, three animal pens and a kitchen) in the Al Hadidiya herding community in the Jordan Valley. Many of the structures were donor-funded after a recent demolition took place in May 2019. Two families comprising of 14 people, including nine children, were displaced for the second time in two months.
- On 22 July, 2019, Israeli forces along with personnel from the ICA demolished a building foundation and nine residential building, of which seven were fully demolished, in areas A, B and C on the Jerusalem side of the Separation Wall. The demolitions took place after the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favour of the demolitions on 11 July, 2019, on the basis of a 2011 military order that designates a security buffer zone in this area of Sur Bahir in which construction is prohibited. 46 households comprising 207 people, including 111 children were directly affected by the demolition, of which 24 people were displaced.
- On 22 July, 2019, the ICA and Israeli forces demolished four donor-funded water cisterns in a nature reserve near Umm al Kheir, South Mount Hebron. Three of the water cisterns were located in an Israeli-declared firing zone. The nature reserve was established for the nearby communities. On 3 July, 2019, Israeli forces uprooted around 700 tress and demolished the fence the surrounded the nature reserve. The demolition affected 1,750 people, including 700 children.
- On 25 July, 2019, Israeli forces demolished a car-wash facility and a carpentry in Haris, Salfit, affecting a family of seven, including five children.
- On 30 July, 2019, Israeli forces confiscated and demolished eight residential and livelihood structures in the herding community of Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, Tubas, Jordan Valley, located in an Israeli-declared firing zone. A family of nine, including three children were displaced. In the same incident another family of five was affected, as the Israeli army confiscated an unused residential tent and two livestock tents.
- On 30 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished an uninhabited residential structure, and a fence that surrounded an animal pen, in the Ein al Hilwa- Wadi al Faw herding community, Tubas, Jordan Valley. The family reported that they built the structures in that location after they suffered from a demolition in 2013, in a nearby location. They also added that they did not receive any demolition order prior to the demolition. A family of seven, including three children was affected.
- On 31 July, 2019, Israeli forces and the ICA demolished an agricultural structure in At Taybe, Hebron. Another two structures that served to shelter animals were dismantled by the owner after Israeli forces came to the area. During the incident two water tanks were confiscated by the Israeli army. All the structures were donor-funded as a response to a previous demolition on June 2019. A family of seven, including three children was affected.
Evictions in Jerusalem: “The Siyam family was evicted today from their home in Silwan”
After an exhausting and costly legal battle of 24 years, settlers from the Elad association, assisted by large police forces, entered today (July 9th, 2019) the home of the Siyam family in Silwan (Wadi Hilweh). At the beginning of the eviction, the police arrested Jawad Siyam, one of the community leaders of Silwan and resident of the house. After his detention, he was banned from entering Silwan (and from his own home) for two days even though there were no charges or accusations against him.
Immediately after the settlers entered, they began to erect a metal wall on the roof of the house and in the courtyard to separate them from the other parts of the house of the Siyam family. Now the settlers live in one compound with the Palestinian family, with shared walls and separate entrances.
The family went through four legal cases where the settlers claimed that they had bought the whole house of Syiam family but the settlers' claim was rejected. However, in the fifth case, the settlers succeeded in convincing the court that they had purchased parts of the house. Today the verdict was executed and the family, a single mother and her four children, was evicted from her home in favor of the settlers.”
Settlers entered a house in the A-Suwani neighbourhood of East Jerusalem
“Yesterday (9 July), settlers entered a large three-story Palestinian house with 6 apartments in A-Suwani neighbourhood (near A-Tur / Mount of Olives). The building is located next to the Beit Orot settlement, which houses dozens of students and a residential compound of 32 apartments.
According to Palestinian reports, the Palestinian family living in the building has been living abroad in recent years, and the settlers claim that they purchased the house from them”
Eviction order for a Palestinian family in Jabel Mukaber
An elderly Palestinian couple living in a house in Jabel Mukaber received an eviction notice from the Execution Office demanding that they vacate their homes by the end of this month (July 2019). If they do not evict by then, the police will be ordered to evict them by force in the near future.
The settlers claimed that they purchased the family’s two houses and a large yard (about 700 square meters), but after a lengthy procedure, the District Court ruled that the settlers had not succeeded in proving that the seller owned the whole plot and that at most he had owned small parts of it.
The Court ruled that the settlers would get only one house and that the rest of the plot (including the second house and the yard) would remain in Palestinian hands.
Here too, as in the case of the Siyam family, one can see the method in which settlers take over properties in East Jerusalem: The settlers manage to purchase a certain part of the property, but they argue in court that they had purchased it all, presenting a series of evidence and documents. As in the case of the Siyam family, after long and expensive discussions, the family manages to prove that the settlers’ share is much smaller (in fact only about 6% of what they claimed).
( Updates by Peace Now, July 10, 2019)
Dismissal of eviction case filed by‘Nahalat Shimon International’against the Husseni family in Sheikh Jarrah
“On March and May 2017,‘Nahalat Shimon International’lodged two eviction cases before the Jerusalem Magistrate court requesting to evict two Palestinian families – Mani and Husseni – from Sheikh Jarrah based on the following grounds: ownership claims, breaching protected tenancy by adding /constructing new parts to the property, compensation claim for not paying the monthly rent. This update is on the Husseni case.
On 17 July 2019, Adv. Sami Ershied and Adv. Saeed Ghallieh succeeded to reach an agreement with Nahalt Shimon International whereby the eviction cases against the Husseni family will be dismissed due to strong arguments raised by the lawyers related to the family’s legal rights in the property. It should be noted that, despite the agreement reached to dismiss the case, Nahalat Shimon International retains its rights to raise again in the future the issue of ownership over the property. In other words, Nahalat Shimon can initiate a new lawsuit related to ownership claims in the property, and if successful, the Husseni family will be considered a ‘protected tenant who can be evacuated if it breaches the protected tenancy terms (adding/constructing new parts to the property without the owner consent, not paying rent fees enc.…).”
(Update by the Norwegian Refugee Council, 19 July, 2019)
UN officials’statement on demolitions in Sur Bahir
Statement by Mr. Jamie McGoldrick (Humanitarian Coordinator), Ms. Gwyn Lewis (Director of West Bank Operations for UNRWA), and Mr. James Heenan (Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory)
We are following with sadness today the Israeli authorities’ destruction of homes in the Palestinian community of Sur Bahir. Initial information emerging from the community indicates that hundreds of Israeli forces entered the community this morning and have demolished a number of residential buildings, including inhabited homes, located in Areas A, B and C of the West Bank on the East Jerusalem side of the Barrier. The large-scale operation began in the early hours of this morning while it was still dark, forcing families out of their homes, and causing great distress among residents. Among those forcibly displaced or otherwise impacted are Palestine refugees, some of whom today are facing the reality of a second displacement in living memory.
Humanitarian partners are poised to provide emergency response to those displaced or otherwise affected by the destruction of their private property. But no amount of humanitarian assistance can replace a home or cover the massive financial losses sustained today by the owners. Several of the affected people report having invested their life savings into the properties, after securing the required building permits from the Palestinian Authority. What happened today in Sur Bahir is of even greater significance, as many other homes and structures now risk the same fate.
Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law. Among other things, the destruction of private property in occupied territory is only permissible where rendered absolutely necessary for military operations, which is not applicable. Furthermore, it results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruled against the legality of the construction of the Barrier and found that the parts of the Barrier that run inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as we see in Sur Bahir, cannot be justified by military exigencies and thus violates Israel’s obligations under international law. Just over 15 years ago, to the day, the UN General Assembly, in Resolution ES-10/15, of 20 July 2004, demanded that Israel comply with its legal obligations as stated in the ICJ’s advisory opinion.
Had there been concrete action to ensure respect for these principles, and for international humanitarian and human rights law, generally, the people of Sur Bahir would not be experiencing the trauma they are today, and violations of their rights.”
European union Statement by the Spokesperson on the demolition of Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem
“Israeli authorities have proceeded with the demolition of 10 Palestinian buildings, containing some 70 apartments, in Wadi al Hummus, part of Sur Baher neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. The majority of the buildings are located in Area A and B of the West Bank where, according to the Oslo Accords, all civil issues are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s settlement policy, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, is illegal under international law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position, we expect the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the ongoing demolitions. The continuation of this policy undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace and seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both States.”