Demolitions & Displacement in the occupied West Bank (including occupied East Jerusalem)
and within the state of Israel
November 2020 Report
“District Court Rejects the Appeal of 8 families from Batan Al-Hawa Ordering their Eviction
Today (23/11/20) the Jerusalem District Court rejected the Duweik family’s appeal of the Magistrate’s Court ruling of February 2020, which ruled that it must vacate its home in favor of settlers in Batan Al-Hawa in Silwan. In a brief verdict, in 240 words, three district court judges decided the fate of 26 members of the Duweik family (five nuclear families) who have lived in their home in Silwan since before 1967. The court contented itself with quoting a verdict given a week earlier in an appeal by the Odeh and Shweiki families in a similar lawsuit. The Odeh and Shweiki families (three families with 22 people), who live near the Duweik family in Batan Al-Hawa, were also sued by the settlers and the Magistrate’s Court ordered an eviction in February this year.
Thus, in one week, the appeal of 8 families (five families in Duweik’s house and three families in Odeh and Shweiki’s house) of 45 persons was rejected and the court ordered that they be evicted from the homes they built on land they had legally purchased. The families intend to file a request to appeal at the Supreme Court, a procedure that has a low chances of success, which can take several weeks or months.
The lawsuits: Part of a move to evacuate an entire community in East Jerusalem on the basis of exercising a “right of return” for Jews
The lawsuits are part of a series of dozens of eviction lawsuits filed by members of the Ateret Cohanim settlers’ association against some 84 Palestinian families living in Batan Al-Hawa in Silwan. These lawsuits put a community of about 700 people at risk of eviction. All the lawsuits are based on the claim that in the late 19th century the land was allocated by its Jewish owners to a Jewish trust for the benefit of the poor Yemenite Jews of Jerusalem. Today, a hundred years later, in the name of the same trust, settlers seek to evacuate Palestinian families and replace them with settlers.
The Duweik family, for example, purchased the land in 1965 when Silwan was under Jordanian rule. The Jordanian government, which generally maintained Jewish property in its territory and did not allow it to be taken over or sold, did not prevent the sale of the land and the Duweik family, like their many neighbors, lived unchallenged for decades, even years after annexing East Jerusalem to Israel in 1967. Until Ateret Cohanim arrived. They managed to appoint themselves trustees of the Jewish trust (which ceased to operate in the 1930’s), and by virtue of that trust they were able to obtain land rights from the Israeli General Custodian, and filed dozens of eviction suits. Since 2015, 14 families have been evicted this way from Batan al-Hawa. ”
(For the full report by Peace Now – https://peacenow.org.il/en/district-court-rejects-the-appeal-of-8-families-from-batan-al-hawa-ordering-their-eviction)
There are four categories of demolitions:
- Punitive demolitions: Houses demolished as punishment for the actions of people associated with the houses.
- Administrative demolitions: Houses demolished for lack of a building permit. This happens in Area C and in East Jerusalem, under exclusive Israeli authority, though prior to the existence of Areas A, B & C it occurred in other areas as well. It is important to point out that in almost all cases, Palestinians have no choice but to build “illegally” as permits are rarely granted
- Land-clearing operations/Military demolitions: Houses demolished by the IDF in the course of military operations for the purposes of clearing off a piece of land (for whatever reason), achieve a military goal or to kill wanted persons as part of Israel’s policy of extrajudicial executions..
- Undefined demolitions: These include mainly demolitions resulting from land-clearing operations and removal of Palestinian populations.
* WASH stands for structures relating to water, sanitation and hygiene.
† In many cases, notably in East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities condition Palestinians to either demolish their properties themselves or have the authorities do so. In an attempt to avoid having to pay the high fee of the Israeli authorities’ demolition operation and additional high fines, many Palestinians are forced to self-demolish.
** No additional information was available
Above data is from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, B’tselem, Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality