In the past week, Al-Haq documented five incidents in which Palestinian property was demolished by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) under the pretext that they lack building licenses. The demolitions included a house under construction, agricultural barracks, residential structures and tents, as well as animal sheds across the West Bank, particularly in Area C and East Jerusalem.
The Abu Al-Kabash family, including Ahmad and Waleed Abu Matar and their families, live in 'Izbet Abu Matar, which is located on five-dunum’s of land within Khirbet Mas'oud, an area classified as Area C, near the Zibda village, south of Jenin. The family has lived there since 1999, in homes made of zinc plates, plastic, and tents; they herd cattle for a living. On 20 May 2014, Abu Al-Kabash family received a stop-construction order from the ICA under the pretext that they are located in a closed military zone. Following this notice, the family applied to acquire a building permit without ever receiving a response.
On Wednesday 11 March 2015 morning, Israeli forces, including 10 military jeeps and two bulldozers arrived at 'Izbet Abu Matar. The soldiers imposed a closed military zone on the area and gave the residents five minutes to vacate their belongings from their houses. The bulldozers then demolished two residential structures and a tent, wherein 24 people reside, including 12 children. Moreover, three animal structures, as well as an electricity network that supplied 'Izbet Matar were demolished.
Ahmad Matar Abu Al-Kabash - Zibda - Jenin
Ahmad, 48, has lived in Khirbet Mas'oud since 1999 with his family. On 20 May 2014, Ahmad had received a notice from the ICA stating that his residence was located in a closed military area and that he was being given a stop-construction order. Ahmad tried to acquire a permit for his property by applying to the ICA and providing all necessary paperwork to prove ownership. However, nearly a year later, instead of receiving a building licence, Ahmad's home and animal sheds were demolished without prior warning.
On 11 March 2015, Ahmad recalls that the ICA arrived to his house and an Israeli officer informed him that their property was to be demolished and levelled. Immediately, the residents left their homes - tents and zinc structures - and tried to get all the cattle out as well. The residents were given five minutes to evacuate. Ahmad has two wives and 12 children, including seven who are under the age of 18. The bulldozers demolished Ahmad's home and animal barracks. Furthermore, Ahmad's brother, Waleed, 40, had his home and other property demolished, causing his family, including his wife and five children, to be displaced.
Ahmad, Waleed and their families are currently staying in tents that were provided by the Palestinian Authority following the demolition. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10503/2015)
Kefah 'Abd Al-Rahim Shouli - Deir Al-Ghsoun - Tulkarem
In 2009, Kefah, 44, started building a two story house in Al-Jaroushiyya, south Deir Al-Ghsoun. He owns 2.3 dunums of land, approximately 700 metres away from the Annexation Wall, which at this point consists of electronic wires, dirt roads and a trench. In January 2013, Kefah received a stop-construction order issued by the ICA under the pretext that the house was built without a building permit. In response, Kefah applied for a permit at the ICA office in Beit El and halted the construction process of the house. Kefah never received a permit for the house, and did not continue with construction. On Wednesday 4 March 2015, Kefah received a paper from the ICA stating that he had one month to acquire a building permit. On the morning of Monday 9 March, Israeli forces, accompanied by two bulldozers, demolished Kefah's house and its surrounding fence. The water and sewage networks connected to the house were also demolished. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10502/2015)
Many Palestinian families in Area C of the West Bank have pending demolition orders against their homes and property. Building permits are rarely granted to Palestinians, particularly in Area C and East Jerusalem, leaving them at imminent and continuous risk of house demolitions and leaving them subject to forcible transfer, in violation of international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that the destruction of property is prohibited unless it is for reasons of absolute military necessity. Palestinian communities have been peacefully residing in Area C and East Jerusalem for generations.