Al-Haq would like to express its solidarity with the Palestinian Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab Desert and all Palestinians facing Israel's discriminatory policies and practices of home demolition and forced displacement on both sides of the Green Line. Whether in East Jerusalem or in the Naqab Desert, Israel implements one policy targeting one people: a discriminatory planning system against Palestinians regardless of their location and status to achieve its overarching goal of displacing Palestinians and dispossessing them of their land.
During the early morning hours of 18 January, Israeli police forces carried out violent demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran. Clashes erupted during the demolitions and several people were injured, including Israeli Knesset member Ayman Odeh. An Umm al-Hiran resident, Ya'akub Musa Abu Al-Qi'an, was also shot and killed after Israeli police forces opened fire on him alleging he was attempting to commit an attack – an allegation denied by the residents and refuted by video footage. The demolitions come after a discriminatory ruling by the Israeli High Court in 2015 approving the state of Israel's plan to demolish the entire village and evict its inhabitants –all of whom are Israeli citizens– in order to establish a new Jewish town on the ruins of Umm al-Hiran.
This follows a demolition campaign carried out by Israeli authorities in the city of Qalansawe also beyond the Green Line. On 9 January, Israeli authorities demolished 11 homes in Qalansawe belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel, leaving several people homeless. The authorities cited lack of proper building permits as the reason for demolition. According to reports, the city has been waiting for the approval of a master plan from Israeli authorities for 20 years, forcing Palestinians to build without proper permits.
These cases are mirrored by Israel's discriminatory building policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), which place Palestinians at constant and imminent threat of house demolitions and subsequent displacement, specifically in East Jerusalem and Area C. During 2016, Israel escalated its plans for the forced displacement of Palestinian communities in Area C and in East Jerusalem by demolishing an unprecedented number of Palestinian homes and other structures displacing over 1,500 people. Palestinian Bedouin communities in Area C, and specifically in the E1 area, faced, and continue to face, repeated demolitions of their homes and structures, including the dismantlement and confiscation of structures that served as a school. The village of Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, is under constant threat of demolition after the Israeli High Court ruled in 2015 that Israel could demolish the village and forcibly displace its inhabitants, thus allowing Israeli settlers to take over more land. International pressure, including warnings by third states, has served to delay the demolition.
Israel’s campaign of demolitions and forced displacement in the OPT continues in 2017.
This past week, Palestinians in the Jabal Al Mukabir neighbor of occupied East Jerusalem have been targeted for both punitive and administrative demolitions as part of a broader collective punishment campaign against residents in the area. Al-Haq documentation confirmed that on 10 January, at least ten families received administrative demolition orders citing lack of a building permit and a horse stable in the area was demolished. On 12 January, the Jerusalem Municipality, accompanied by Israeli forces, raided a private business facility and forced the owner to self-demolish one of the structures. More recently on 16 January, Israeli forced demolished a decades-old barn.
These events underscore that Israel invokes one policy towards Palestinians regardless of their status as Israeli citizens, East Jerusalem “permanent residents” or West Bank ID holders. Irrespective of the Israeli "authority" implementing planning laws on either side of the Green Line, the basic rights of Palestinians, such as housing and choice of residency, are a mere card waiting to be pulled in order to further Israel's objective of colonization.
 Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), Umm al-Hiran man killed after police open fire during violent demolition operation in Bedouin village, 18 January 2017, available at
Al-Haq Monitoring and Documentation Department documented the demolition of 575 Palestinian structures in the OPT in 2016 displacing 1,681 people.