|Demolitions on the rise; entire community forcibly displaced out of East Jerusalem
During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished 34 Palestinian-owned structures on the grounds that they lacked building permits, displacing 50 people, half of them children.
Fourteen (14) of the demolished structures were located in East Jerusalem. One of the affected sites in is an area between Al Isawiya and At Tur neighborhoods, where one residential building (comprising two households where nine people lived), one house under construction, two livelihood-related structures, and an access road, were demolished. Since February 2012, the Israeli authorities have demolished a total of five houses in this area, displacing 45 people. Many of them have continued to reside in the area, either in the remains of their previous homes or in rebuilt structures. The area has been allocated by the Jerusalem Municipality to a future “national park”. This plan has raised a number of concerns, including the reduced space that would be available for the residential development of Palestinian communities, as well as the territorial linkage that this park would create between Israeli settlements in the area, disrupting the territorial contiguity of the West Bank.
Also in East Jerusalem, in the Silwan neighborhood, Israeli authorities demolished two residential structures, four agricultural and animal sheds, a kiosk and a fence. At least 15 trees were also uprooted during the demolitions.
On 25 August, the remaining members of the Bir Nabala/ Tel al Adassa Bedouin community in East Jerusalem, along with most of its herd, left the area for the “West Bank” side of the Barrier. These developments followed last week’s demolition of all structures in the community. Initial information indicates that the affected families have temporarily dispersed into two locations. Unless community members are allowed to return to their previous location, this will be the first ‘dislocated’ community in the Jerusalem area to have been displaced in its entirety to the “West Bank” side of the Barrier.
In 2013, there has been a significant rise in demolitions and displacement in East Jerusalem. The number of people displaced this year in East Jerusalem now stands at over 200, by far the highest number since 2009, and more than the combined total of persons displaced in East Jerusalem in all of 2011 and 2012.
The remaining 20 structures demolished this week (all on 20 August), which included eight residential structures resulting in the displacement of 33 people, were located in three small Bedouin communities in Area C: Humsa Basalia and Al Jiftlik, both in the Jordan Valley, and in Al Baqa’a, in the Jerusalem governorate.