Additional demolitions since we reported the early 2016 demolition campaign: On Feb. 20, Israeli authorities confiscated two large caravans used for expanding the Abu a-Nuwar school, where some children study in other communities due to overcrowding. On Feb. 15, 32 structures, including 10 homes were demolished in Ein a-Rashash, leaving dozens homeless. These demolitions and confiscations are part of an unusually massive demolition campaign the Israeli authorities launched in Palestinian shepherding communities in the West Bank in Jan. 2016.
As of Jan. 2016 Israeli authorities stepped up efforts to expel Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, Ma’ale Adumim area and the Jordan Valley, demolishing 73 homes and 51 other structures, some donated by aid agencies. Israel recently announced plans to demolish many more structures in Kh. Susiya, expel Abu a-Nuwar’s residents, and reported its failed mediation with Masafer Yatta. All are part of a policy whereby Area C is to serve Israel rather than West Bank Palestinians. Restrictions Israel imposes in Area C force all West Bank Palestinians to live in crowded enclaves without land reserves for building, farming, infrastructure, health and education services or freedom of movement.
Over three days during the past week, the authorities demolished 22 dwellings in the Jordan Valley, along with 41 other structures used for storage and livestock, leaving 59 people, including 28 minors without a roof over their heads.
In mid-Jan, 24 Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley were informed they would be temporarily displaced at month’s end for military training in the area. The evacuation was cancelled due to weather conditions, but the military did conduct training very close to one community, causing panic among residents, especially children, and crushing crops. Military training in the Jordan Valley is illegal. Israel must immediately stop it and all other measures employed in an attempt to force Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley out of the area.
On Thursday morning, 4 February 2016, Civil Administration (CA) officials came to the Palestinian shepherding community of al-Mkassar in the northern Jordan Valley with bulldozers and a military escort. They proceeded to demolish four tents that were home to two families – a total of 19 people, including 12 minors. They also demolished eight livestock pens. These families had already lost their homes in a previous demolition in June 2015. Later that the day, around noon, CA and military forces came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills, where they dismantled and confiscated two tents that were home to a family of eight, including six minors. The tents were donated to the family after their two previous tents were demolished about two weeks ago, on 20 January 2016.
Today, 2 Feb. 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 22 homes in two Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, leaving 110 people, including 64 minors, homeless in mid-winter. The communities lie in an area declared by the military as Firing Zone 918. This comes immediately after the end of unsuccessful mediation between Israeli authorities and the communities, which now plan to renew their legal battle against attempts to expel them from their land.
Since the beginning of 2016 Israel has demolished eight Palestinian homes in the area defined as E1 and two homes in the South Hebron Hills, including one in Khirbet Susiya, where residents have struggled for years against expulsion and settler takeover. These demolitions serve Israel’s policy to create immutable facts on the ground ahead of any future agreement. This longstanding policy, which creates an impossible daily reality for Palestinians in Area C, constitutes forced transfer of protected residents within the occupied territory.
From 12 to 14 Jan.2016, B'Tselem documented Civil Administration harassment of five Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, in continuation of efforts to force Palestinians out of Area C. In Kh. ‘Ein Karzaliyah, structures were photographed, apparently ahead of repeat demolitions; in Kh. ‘Einun, forces destroyed agricultural structures and a water reservoir; and in Yarza and Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, families were informed that they would again be displaced for military training.
In the early hours of 13 January 2016, representatives of the Civil Administration and the military came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet a-Rahwa, which lies south of the town of a-Dahariya and close to the settlement Tene. The force demolished a tent that was home to a family of nine, including seven minors, and a livestock pen that belongs to the family. The force also confiscated a solar panel donated to the family by humanitarian aid organizations. The family’s tent had already been demolished a year ago and re-erected since.
On 10 December 2015 Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) issued an interim injunction in the petition filed by families from al-Hadidiyah. The injunction orders authorities not to demolish the families’ tents. On 30 December 2015 the HCJ ruled, with the agreement of the petitioners and the state, that as long as the residents erect no new structures or implement changes in extant structures, no demolitions will be carried out until further notice. The residents’ petition is scheduled to be heard in February 2016.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.