Reports

Continued Israeli destruction of Palestinian houses

According to the Oslo Agreement signed with the Palestinian side in 1995, Israel controls security and administrative areas, estimated at 60 percent of the West Bank, and prevents any change, including construction.
The Israelis used to demolish Palestinian homes in the Bank and Jerusalem since the beginning of the Nakba1948 under the pretext of security imperatives and under the pretext of military imperatives. The undisclosed goal is to demolish Palestinian homes and displacement in order to build settlements and occupy more land.

From 1967 to the present day, Israel has adopted a policy of forced displacement and demolition of houses in East Jerusalem. It has demolished thousands of houses and displaced their owners. It has carried out the first demolitions and ethnic cleansing in the heart of the city.  According to OCHA, Israeli authorities demolished or confiscate, this year until 7 July 2021, at least 421 Palestinian-owned buildings and forced their owners to demolish them, resulting in the displacement of 592 people, including some 320 children, throughout the West Bank. One of the target locations is Sheikh Jarrah and Sloan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, and it was the spark that sparked the recent war in Gaza.

Israel refrains granting construction permits to Palestinians in areas under its control for subsequent removal, in the pretext that they are illegal and don’t have permits. Palestinians and human rights activists argue that this prohibition has caused housing shortages and does not take into account the natural demographic growth of the Palestinian population.

The Palestinian Authority threatened to suspend the implementation of agreements signed with the Israeli side if such acts continue and has called for international intervention to stop demolitions and settlements. The United Nations Coordinator for the Middle East for Peace Process, as well, considered all settlement activities as illegal under international law, and Israel should cease demolitions and seizure of Palestinian properties, to be consistent with its obligations under international humanitarian law, and allow Palestinians in C area and East Jerusalem to develop their communities.

The European Union considered Israel’s settlement policy, forced relocations, evictions, demolitions and confiscation of houses as illegal under international law, calling on Israel to immediately cease the ongoing demolitions, as they seriously undermined the peaceful solution. He added that all settlement activities are illegal under international law, and Israel must cease demolitions and seizures of Palestinian properties.

Despite the global condemnation and criticism of the demolitions, and in flagrant defiance of the international community, the Israeli occupying forces continued to brutalize, deport Palestinians and destroy their homes. On 8 July 2021, Israeli Authority blew up the house of Montaser Shalbi (prisoner in Israeli detention) in Termasia, north of Ramallah, confirming their terrorist behavior as criminal gangs. The US Embassy in Israel has reportedly criticized this operation, which has been justified by the Israeli authorities as a security imperative.

A simple review of international human rights laws and conventions makes it clear that Israel is abusing those laws and conventions. It has committed acts that can only be classified as war crimes to Palestinian people, specifically in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. It adopted the policy of collective punishment and demolition of Palestinian homes, which is contrary to article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which clearly states that person should be protected and not punished for an offence he has not committed personally.

However, the Israeli State used to be indifferent to international resolutions; the laxity with which the international community has dealt with Israeli aggression acts and excesses of war, since its establishment, especially the massive deportation and detention of Palestinian, has no doubt encouraged the regime to believe that it can defy fundamental principles of international law with impunity. In facts: the Arab and international positions were limited to verbal convictions, and the European Union demand a halt to the demolition of more homes and the United States of America was pressing its weight to prevent a resolution condemning Israel in the United Nations.

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