In recent weeks, the military has held several maneuvers in residential areas or grazing land belonging to Palestinian communities. Israel claims that the areas are “firing zones,” despite the fact that these communities have lived and worked on the land for many years. The repeated displacement threatens the ability of residents to continue living in the communities. As an occupying power, Israel may not use land for general military purposes, and certainly must not displace the residents or damage their livelihood on these grounds.
On Thurs. Nov. 11, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of Khirbet Tall al-Himma, located in the northern Jordan Valley, south of ‘Ein al-Beida. The forces dismantled six tents and confiscated them together with two tents that had not been pitched yet. Three of the tents had been used as dwellings by members of the community, and the rest were used as livestock pens. These structures were donated to the community this week by a humanitarian aid agency, after the Civil Administration demolished these families’ homes on 27 September 2016, leaving 25 people, 10 of them minors, homeless.
Three communities targeted today as part of Israel’s confiscation and demolition campaign. Jordan Valley: In Kh. a-Deir, forces demolished the homes of 14 people, 4 are minors. In a-Ras al-Ahmar, forces confiscated tractors used for hauling water and feed for livestock. In Wadi al-Qatif, in the Ma'ale Adumim area, forces confiscated water tanks and portable toilets. In the campaign, launched in 2016 in a bid to expel Palestinian communities, Israel has so far demolished 255 homes, and left 1,076 people homeless, including 557 minors.
On 9 Oct. 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 18 homes in the communities of al-Kurshan, near the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, and a-Ras al-Ahmar, in the Jordan Valley, leaving 52 people – including 23 minors – homeless. In the latter, they also demolished 17 livestock pens. In the massive demolition campaign it has waged since the beginning of 2016, Israel has thus far demolished 252 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, leaving 1,062 people, including 553 minors, homeless.
On 27 Sept. 2016, Israel demolished 22 structures, half of them homes, in five West Bank communities: in the northern Jordan Valley, near Ma’ale Adumim, the South Hebron Hills, and East Jerusalem. This left 56 Palestinians, including 30 minors, homeless. The authorities also demolished water cisterns, livestock pens, and part of a school. This is part of a massive demolition campaign to pressure Palestinians to leave Area C that has, since the beginning of 2016, left 1,010 people homeless, including 530 minors.
Yesterday (Wednesday, 31 August 2016), military and Civil Administration forces arrived in the afternoon in the community of Badiw a-Mu’arrajat to the northwest of Jericho. The forces dismantled and confiscated three residential caravans, a shack used for raising livestock, and mobile toilet facilities. All the structures were donated to the families by a humanitarian aid organization after the Israeli authorities demolished their homes on 4 August 2016. The destruction left 14 people homeless, including three minors. Fatima Malihat, whose home was demolished, stated in her testimony to B'Tselem: “They don’t want us to stay here. They are fighting to stop us making a living. Where should we go? They have demolished our home several times and they chase us wherever we go. Our life has become bitter and dark and we haven’t had a single good day. We are afraid even to put up a tent because they will just destroy it. Where should we go? We don’t have anywhere to go. Wherever we go to, they expel us.”
On 29 August 2016, military and Civil Administration forces came to the community of M’azi Jaba’, one of several clusters of shepherding communities located to the northeast of Jerusalem, between the village of Jaba’ and the settlement of Adam (Geva Binyamin). The forces demolished four homes belonging to three families, as well as three structures used for raising and housing livestock, and left 28 people homeless, including 19 minors. Over the first seven months of 2016, the Israeli authorities have demolished a total of 203 homes throughout the West Bank, leaving 823 people homeless, including 423 minors. The scope of destruction witnessed during this period is the worst since B'Tselem began monitoring house demolitions on the grounds of “unauthorized construction” and reflects an intensification of Israel's campaign to displace Palestinians from Area C since the beginning of 2016.
In Jan.-June 2016, Israeli authorities demolished 168 dwellings in Palestinian communities in the West Bank, making 740 people homeless (incl. 384 minors), more than in any one year in the past decade (except 2013). Demolitions are carried out only in Area C, which comprises about 60% of the West Bank, and which Israel views as primarily meant to serve its own needs, and in East Jerusalem. Demolitions play a key role in Israeli policy in the West Bank to displace Palestinians and take over their land. Demolitions and devastating communities do not fulfill “the rule of law”. Rather, they are a longstanding, systematic dispossession to which all Israeli authorities are party.
On 14 June 2016, despite the 104°F heat in the Jordan Valley, Israeli authorities seized a tractor on which Palestinians from Khirbet Samrah depend to carry water to their flocks and delivered demolition orders for spring water reservoirs that are vital to the al-Malih Palestinian community. This conduct clearly illustrates Israel’s routine abuse of its power against Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, exacerbating the existing water shortage caused by the fact Israel does not allow them to connect to the water supply.
Today, Sunday, 19 June 2016, Civil Administration and military forces came to the Palestinian community of Wadi Ejheish, which is known as “south Susiya” as it lies some five kilometers south of the village of Khirbet Susiya. The forces demolished the homes of two families that number 21 people in total, including four women and 14 minors. The forces also demolished two livestock pens. One of the demolished homes had been donated by a humanitarian aid agency.
B'Tselem has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades, promoting a future where all Israelis and Palestinians will live in freedom and dignity.