Escalation in Demolitions Leaves Tens of Palestinians Homeless
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Escalation in Demolitions Leaves Tens of Palestinians Homeless

As the de jure annexation of large parts of the West Bank is looming, the pace of house demolition in the target areas for annexation is surging. A united call by Palestinian civil society urges the international community to impose sanctions on Israel to thwart the impending de jure annexation of 33 % of the West Bank, which will solidify Israeli regime of apartheid and Bantustanization of Palestinians.

On Tuesday, June 9th, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished six makeshifts belonging to Palestinians from Al-Sawahrah, south east Jerusalem. Younis Ja’far, an activist from Al-Sawahrah stated that “The owners of the demolished makeshifts did not receive prior demolition notice and warning. The Israeli occupation forces came to the place with bulldozers and forced the families living in the makeshifts into leaving them before the demolition took place. Six families consisting of over 40 people, including children and women are now homeless having no houses to shelter them.” Ja’far added: “This is not the first time these families, where some of them belong to Al-Jahalin Bedouin community, are left without homes as the Israeli occupation demolished their houses before.” The pretext used by the occupation was a lack of building permit, the real aim is the displacement of the Al-Jahalin from the area to annex the land without its people.

The Israeli occupation’s gaze is turned at Al-Sawahrah, specifically the location where the recent demolition took place as it is adjacent to Israeli illegal settlements. Ja’far stressed that “the Israeli occupation considers the land of Al-Sawahrah as an extension to the nearby illegal settlement of Giv’at Adumim. They intend to displace us from the area in favor of the illegal settlers in the neighboring settlements. If the annexation of Al-Sawahrah takes place the Israeli occupation would succeed in cutting off the northern and southern of the West Bank from each other.” The disruption of territorial contiguity between northern and southern West Bank would isolate Jerusalemite Palestinians and separate the rest of Palestinians from Jerusalem, a religious, economic and cultural haven for Palestinian Muslims and Christians alike. The Israeli occupation is adamant about Judaizing the City of Jerusalem by expelling Palestinians from it, with house demolition as one expulsion measure amongst others.

On the same day when the six makeshifts were brought to the ground in Al-Sawahra, a house in Silwan, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem was also bulldozed by the occupation forces. The house, which was built six years ago, belongs to a mother and her eight children. On June 3rd, the Israeli occupation also brought the structures and tents of the entire Bedouin community of Ein Hejlah, Jericho and a house in the South Hebron Hills to the ground, two areas to be imminently annexed.

The Israeli occupation authorities use the lack of permits as an excuse to demolish Palestinians’ houses and property as they pursue their policy of expulsion against Palestinians in Area ‘C’. Under international law, occupation authorities are forbidden from destroying the property of Palestinians in occupied territory, unless it is militarily necessary to do so, and are obliged to guarantee the right to property and adequate housing to the occupied. By refusing 98.5% of permit applications of Palestinians in area C and Jerusalem and then razing their houses when they are left with no other option but to build without license, Israel violates both obligations. The increased pace of demolition in areas Israel plans to annex after the US administration has green-lighted such a step through the so-called ‘Deal of the Century” aim to reconfigure and manipulate the demography of the areas to be annexed by reducing the number of Palestinians living there. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently announced the scheduled annexation of large parts of the West Bank to be on July. Over 75 villages and Bedouin communities with roughly 118000 Palestinians are to be annexed according to the Trump plan.