|Rise in demolitions in East Jerusalem
During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished a total of 33 structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits, bringing to 522 the number of structures demolished since the beginning of the year compared to 549 in the equivalent period of 2013. As a result at least 47 Palestinians, including 14 children, were displaced and around 60 others affected.
Out of the total, seventeen of the structures were demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing a total of 16 Palestinians, including nine children, and otherwise affecting 44 people. The structures, including three homes, were demolished in Salah ad Din Street (1), Silwan (6), Wadi al Joz (6), and the Sheikh Jarrah area (4). This brings the number of structures demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year to 72.
According to media reports, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem has recently ordered the municipality to strengthen ‘enforcement’ measures against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions for building without permits, with the objective of pressuring the Palestinian population to act against young demonstrators. At least one third of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, which are near impossible to obtain, placing over 90,000 residents in chronic fear of demolition and displacement. Only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up; 35 per cent has been confiscated for Israeli settlement use.
On 3 November, four structures (two animal barracks and two tents used as kitchens), were demolished in the Area C community of Arab ar Ramadin ash Shamali (Qalqilya) affecting a total of seven families. The community is located in an enclave, trapped between the Barrier and the Green Line. Currently around 11,000 Palestinians are isolated in such enclaves and face serious access restrictions, including to basic services.
On 28 October, Israeli forces demolished a baking oven (taboun) servicing the community of Um al Kheir, located in Area C, east of Yatta (Hebron). The oven was the only structure that was re-built following its demolition the previous day along with six residences, including one prefabricated structure donated by international donors through the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF).
Another four structures were demolished by Israeli forces on 3 November in Al Mu’arrajat East Bedouin community (Jericho) due to lack of building permits in Area C. As a result, two refugee families comprising seven Palestinians (including three children) were displaced. This is one of the Palestinian Bedouin communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem and in the central West Bank which are at risk of forcible transfer due to a “relocation” plan advanced by the Israeli authorities.
Israeli forces demolished three structures, including two residential, and caused damage to 1.5 kilometers of the road servicing the community of Tel al Khashaba (Nablus). The demolitions led to the displacement of a family of 11, including two women and seven children. In September 2014, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) dismantled an electricity network installed in the community with the support of an international donor. In Khashem ad Daraj, five structures, including two-donor funded latrines, were demolished, displacing a family of eight including five children, and affecting 36 others. Both communities are located, along with 36 other communities, in areas designated as “firing zones” for military training and are affected by high levels of humanitarian need and continuous risk of forcible transfer.
In Khirbet Ras al Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley, also located in a “firing zone”, Israeli forces conducted a military training on three consecutive days during the period, for the third consecutive week. The training took place from 12:00pm to 6:00am on the first two days and from 12:00pm to 12:00am on the third day. As a result, nine Palestinian families were temporarily displaced for the duration of the training. The ICA verbally informed community members that the training will take place according to the same schedule over the next six months.
In the same context, residents of the community of ‘Ibziq’ (Tubas) vacated their homes on 28 October for six hours, bringing to nine the number of times the community of 30 households was temporarily displaced due to Israeli military trainings this year. Between 2 and 3 November, additional military training, for which no orders were previously delivered, took place.
Earlier this year, a senior officer from the IDF Central Command confirmed that the frequency and scope of military trainings has increased dramatically in recent times, particularly in the Jordan Valley, and that such exercises contribute to the prevention of “illegal building.”