We, the undersigned members of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) condemn in the strongest possible terms Israel’s recent spate of demolition of Palestinian structures in and adjacent to the area known by the international community as ‘E1’, in the occupied West Bank, and highlight that these demolitions represent material acts upon which a finding of forcible transfer can be based. Accordingly, these acts constitute a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity under international criminal law, while violating numerous fundamental human rights.
Since August 5th, 2015, Israeli forces have demolished a total of 57 Palestinian structures across the villages of Khan Al Ahmar, Bir al Maskoob, Wadi Sneisil, Al Zaim and Fasayel el Wusta. Residential dwellings were targeted, leaving a total of 167 inhabitants (including 101 children),homeless and without shelter during the hottest time of the year. Animal shelters were also destroyed, along with other structures essential to the maintenance of the communities’ existence, including toilets and external kitchens.
Israeli demolition orders hang over the vast majority of Palestinian Bedouin structures in the ‘E1’ area, reducing the lives of affected individuals and communities to one of uncertainty and fear. When executed, demolitions are an utterly devastating experience, with recent studies concluding that the average adjusted damage (factoring in – inter alia - physical damage to property, psychosocial and legal costs) inflicted upon each affected Palestinian household was NIS 680,648 (US$ 175,244).