During the month of December 2019, at least 56 structures were demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) by Israeli forces, displacing at least 99 people- including 48 children- and affecting a further 14,864 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 2 December, 2019, A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish their house in Ras al‘Amud, East Jerusalem. The house was built in 2010, on the rooftop of a residential building, owned by their family. While the entire building has a demolition order against it, the Israeli authorities separated the case of the the rooftop house from the rest of the building, and delivered a final demolition order against it in November 2019. A family of four, including two children was displaced as a result.
- On 3 December, 2019, the ICA (Israeli Civil Administration) along with Israeli forces demolished two shops, located on Route 60, near Al Hijra, Hebron. This is the second time this year the shops have been demolished. The owners did not receive any demolition order or confiscation order prior to the demolition. During the incident vegetable produce- sold in the shops- was ruined and wasted. Three families comprising of 14 people, including six children were affected.
- On 3 December, 2019, Israeli forces demolished two water reservoirs (1000 cubic meter each) in Einoun, Tubas. One of the water reservoirs was privately owned and served Palestinian farmers from the surrounding area for irrigation, in addition to supplying drinking water to five herding families from several communities. The second reservoir was donor-funded and is located in an area designated by Israeli authorities as a firing-zone. The structure was still under-construction, and was part of the first stage of a project aimed to supply water to around 300 Palestinian farmers, covering an area of about 2,000 dunums of agricultural land. The demolition affected 807 people from 134 households.
- On 4 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished a structure used to shelter 50 sheep, that was built three months prior to the demolition, in the Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar, East Jerusalem. The family did not receive any prior notice before the demolition. As a result, a family of four was affected.
- On 4 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished a house, a mobile latrine and a solar panel system in the Wadi Sneysel community, Jerusalem. All the structures had demolition orders against them, issued a year after they were built. Two families comprising of 13 people, including nine children were displaced.
- On 4 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished two houses and two latrines in the Bedouin community of Wadi Abu Hindi, Jerusalem. The structures were built 45 days before the demolition, and housed two newly-wed couples who reported that they only received a verbal warning from the Israeli authorities to demolish the structures a week before they were demolished, but that no demolition order was given to them. Two families comprising of four people were displaced.
- On 4 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished a house and a structure used for animals in the Abu George Road Bedouins- Nkheila community, Jerusalem. Both structures had demolition orders against them, but the family’s lawyer had obtained an injunction from an Israeli court to stop the demolition. A family of five, including three children was displaced, and another 12 Palestinians, including two children were affected
- On 5 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished a newly constructed car wash facility in Beit Jala, on the road leading to Al Walaja, Bethlehem. The business was the only source of income for the family of seven, including five children, who live in a dire economical condition.
- On 5 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished three houses and three latrine units in the community of Maghayir al Abeed, Massafer Yatta, Hebron, in an area declared by the Israeli military as a firing zone (918). All the structures (except for one latrine unit) were donor-funded. The families received a demolition order against the structures in November, 2019, and their case was pending a court decision. During the demolition, most of the families’ belongings, and about half a ton of animal feeding fodder was buried under the rubble. 12 people from three families, including four children have been displaced as a result.
- On 10 December, 2019, a family was forced to self-demolish an agricultural structure in Jabal al Mukabbir, East Jerusalem. The structure was built five months ago, and was used by the family as a resting place. A family of six, including four children was affected.
- On 16 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished a house and a structure used to shelter animals in the Bedouin community of Ein al Qilt, Jericho.The structures were built in 2017, and had demolition orders issued against them shortly after. A family of three, including one child was displaced, and a family of 12, including eight children was affected.
- On 16 December, 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure and a latrine unit, built inside an old cave in Deir Razih, Hebron. A family of six, including four children was affected. On the same day, Israeli authorities bulldozed a piece of land in the village, that was used as a bus repair workshop. This is the second time the owners of the workshop have had their business demolished this year. 20 people from two families, including four children have been affected.
- On 16 December 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished a two-story residential house and a water cistern in Al Khadr, Bethlehem. The family received a demolished order in 2017, against the house. During the demolition, ten olive trees were uprooted, agricultural land was destroyed and all the family’s belongings were buried under the rubble. The demolition displaced a family of ten, including six children.
- On 17 December, 2019, personnel from the Jerusalem municipality along with Israeli forces demolished a house under-construction in Al ‘Isawiya, East Jerusalem. The house was located on the second floor of a two-story residential building. The two apartments on the first floor became unsafe for the families who were living in them due to severe damage and rubble caused by the demolition. Two households comprising of seven people, including three children were displaced (the families who were living on the first floor).
- On 17 December, 2019, personnel from the Jerusalem municipality along with Israeli forces demolished four commercial and agricultural structures in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. The families did not receive any demolition orders against the structures. 15 people, including four children, from three families have been affected.
- On 17 December, 2019, Israeli forces demolished the entire unrecognized Bedouin village of al- Aragib, in the Naqab desert, Southern Israel, for the 167th time.
- On 17 December, 2019, Israeli forces demolished a house in Jaffa, Central Israel, owned by the Sakhafi family. The family reported that police forces stormed the house, forced them out of the building and violently threw their belongings outside. The entire family of seven has been displaced as a result.
- On 18 December, 2019, Israeli forces demolished a house in Lod, central Israel, and displaced the entire family.
- On 20 December, 2019, personnel the Israeli Ministry of Interior along with Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure and a retaining wall in Bethlehem city. The structure was located in Area C, in close proximity to the Israeli Separation Wall. The demolition affected a family of four.
- On 22 December 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished two houses and two structures used to shelter animals in Ein ad Duyuk at Tahta, Jericho. As a result, a family of eight, including six children was displaced, and another family of eight, including six children was affected.
- On 23 December, 2019, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated a residential tent and three tents used to shelter animals in Khirbet Tana, Nablus, displacing a family of seven, in an area declared by the Israeli military as a ‘closed military zone’. The same day, more then 2,500 forest trees were cut down, in addition to 2,000 meters of fences in five Palestinian nature reserves that were established as a joint project between the PA and international organizations. The destruction of the nature reserves have affected the entire communities of Beit Furik and Khirbet Tana, approximately 13,905 people.
- On 23 December, 2019, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated two residential tents and another tent used to shelter animals in Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, Tubas, in an area that has been declared by the Israeli authorities as a firing zone and a nature reserve. Two families comprising ten people, including five children have been displaced.
- On 24 December 2019, the ICA along with Israeli forces demolished an agricultural structure in Khirbet Ghuwain al Fauqa, Hebron. A family of ten, including seven children have been affected from the demolition.
- On 24 December 2019, personnel from the Jerusalem municipality along with Israeli forces demolished a 260 sq m house in Jabal al Mukabbir, East Jerusalem, that was built in 2015, and housed three families. A demolition order was issued against the house soon after it was built and the families took the case to court. On 23 December, 2019, the Israeli High Court ruled in favor of the demolition, and the house was demolished the following morning. Three households comprising of 11 people, including five children have been displaced.
“Israel to establish refugee displacement camps for tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin citizens
On 10 December, 2019, Adalah released a new report exposing Israel's plan to 'urgently' evict Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev) from their homes with no permanent, just housing solutions.
Israel is taking the first steps towards establishing refugee displacement camps to house tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel whom it plans to "urgently" evict from their homes in unrecognized villages across the Naqab (Negev) region without even offering them any permanent or just housing solutions.
Adalah's new position paper takes a detailed look at and explains the ramifications of the plans and the ways in which they violate the human rights of the Bedouin community.
The basic aim of Israel's plan is to transfer the residents of unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin villages – villages in which they have lived for decades, and some of which have existed since before the state's establishment in 1948 – to temporary structures for a period of up to six years.
The plans constitute another step by Israel to forcibly remove the Palestinian Bedouin population of the unrecognized villages from their homes and lands in the quickest possible fashion.
Israel's plans to establish refugee displacement camps for Palestinian Bedouin citizens must be understood in the context of a January 2019 announcement by Israel's Bedouin Authority that it intends evict 36,000 Bedouin citizens for the needs of "economic development projects" and the expansion of military training areas.
These plans – expected to affect thousands of families, children, and the elderly – will have devastating consequences for the entire Palestinian Bedouin population of the Naqab, both in the unrecognized villages and in the recognized townships where the refugee displacement camps are to be constructed.”
To read the full position paper- https://www.adalah.org/uploads/uploads/Adalah_Position_Paper_Refugee_Displacement_Camps_December_2019.pdf
Update from HaMoked:
New military regulations threaten mass dispossession of Palestinian farmland behind the Separation Wall:
From the time Israel built the separation wall inside the West Bank, and instituted a draconian regime of entry permits in the enclosed areas – known as the “Seam Zone” – Palestinian farmers separated from their lands by the wall, have been forced to navigate many bureaucratic obstacles to realize their basic right to farm their lands. Despite Israel’s undertaking before the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to preserve as much as possible Palestinians’ connections to land in the Seam Zone, landowners’ ability to realize their right to property has been gradually diminishing, and with it their ability to maintain the agricultural traditions of their families and communities. Additionally, in 2018 there was a dramatic rise in the denial of access permits of Palestinian farmers to their West Bank farmlands lying beyond the separation wall.
In September 2019, the Israeli military published the 6th version of the regulations governing access permits to the Seam Zone (previous versions were called Standing Orders; this document is titled “Procedures and Instructions for the Seam Zone 2019”). As was the case with each successive version of the regulations, the new version contains harsher regulations than the previous version, exacerbating the harm to Palestinian farmers and further restricting their ability to adequately tend their farmlands, and even to simply reach them.
Until publication of the most recent regulations, landowners who succeeded to obtain a farmer permit from the military, could access their lands without limit (albeit only via the specific gate or gates listed in the permit, and subject to their limited opening hours). This is no longer the situation. From now on, farmers will be allowed to enter the Seam Zone only for a restricted number of days per year, to be determined according to the type of crop they grow: olives, almonds, grapes, citrus fruit and so on. This pursuant to a new stipulation in the regulations (Section 5 in Chapter C), which for the first time applies entry quotas to landowners (people with a proprietary tie, in the language of the military). It should be noted that the previous Standing Orders set quotas for “agricultural laborer” (usually, family members who do not have a proven proprietary tie to the lands), but they were not implemented in practice and “laborers” who received a permits could access the farmlands daily all year. The new quotas are already being implemented; landowners growing olive trees have started to receive permits limiting their access to their lands to 40 days – less than a month and a half – a year.
Thus in the case of a Palestinian man from Anin, Jenin district, who owns a plot of land he inherited from his father, where he grows olive and almond trees. For years, the man received “Seam Zone farmer permits”, which enabled him unrestricted access to his land. The man had been left without a permit since late 2018, after the military refused his permit-renewal request. After HaMoked petitioned the court on his behalf – and following the publication of the new regulations – the military issued the man a permit which, for the first time, states: “limited to 40 entries per year” (circled in orange in the photo) (HaMoked file 80193).
Given that 95% of farmland inside the Seam Zone consists of olive groves – according to military data – these quotas spell the all but complete closure of the agricultural lands in the Seam Zone. It should be noted that the absolute dominance of olives as a crop is a direct result of the difficulty of accessing farmlands trapped beyond the wall, which forced many farmers to abandon water-rich crops which require intensive farming.
The updated Seam Zone regulations (in Section 3) redefine the purpose of an “agricultural permit” – and in fact redefine the entire purpose of the permit regime in relation to the landowners. In the Standing Orders of 2017, an agricultural permit was defined as a permit “issued to a resident of the Judea and Samaria Area who has a proprietary tie to farmlands in the Seam Zone, and the purpose of which is to maintain the tie to these lands” (second emphasis added). However, the definition has now been changed as follows: “Agricultural permit – … the purpose of which is to enable cultivation of the farmland, according to the agricultural need stemming from the size of the land and the type of crop, while maintain the tie to these lands” (emphasis added). This change clearly reflects a policy which denies the basic right of landowners to reach their plots of land, whenever they choose and for whatever reason.
The restriction of the farmers’ access blatantly contradicts Israeli case law and international law, and constitutes an abuse of the power and authority of the military rule in the West Bank and its control over the civilian population there. Over a dozen years ago, Israel promised free access of farmers to their lands, restricted only for security reasons. Now Israel sweepingly restricts access to the land, except for “agricultural needs” in the narrowest sense, as defined by Israel itself. The obvious outcome of this policy is to empty these agricultural lands of Palestinians. It seems Israel strives to make these lands desolate with no Palestinian agriculture, without cultivation, in blatant violation of the farmers’ right to property in their own homeland.
On November 21, in the framework of the proceedings in HaMoked’s petition against the “tiny plot of land” policy (one of twenty such petitions now pending before the courts), HaMoked requested an interim order instructing the state “to refrain from applying the new regulations to landowners in the Seam Zone and their workers … until the petition is decided”. In its request, HaMoked clarified that “the new regulations are even more injurious, and significantly more so, than the previous regulations”, which are the subject of the petition, and that there was no security justification for it.
(Update by HaMoked - Center for the Protection of the Individual )