B’Tselem newsletter-Sept. 7, 2015
This August, we documented the demolition of 50 Palestinian residential structures by Israel’s Civil Administration. The homes demolished were in various Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. In an unusually large-scale demolition spree, Israeli authorities razed nearly as many homes in August as it did in the first seven months of 2015, and rendered homeless over 200 people, half of them minors.
To the thousands of Palestinians living in dozens of farming and shepherding communities in Area C, most of which are hooked up to neither water nor power grids, the humble tents and shacks that were destroyed were home, and the livestock pens vital to their livelihood. Two women – one from Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley and one from the Abu Falah community in the region of Ma’ale Adumim – told of the virtually impossible existence imposed by Israeli policy.Demolition is just one measure of many adopted by Israeli authorities with a view to making life in Area C intolerable to Palestinians and to push them out of the area. For example, the military routinely orders families to leave their homes temporarily so it can train in the area. In August we uploaded a brief film that depicts the ramifications of these temporary displacements. Another illustration of this policy is what the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai said at a Knesset committee. He made it abundantly clear that the residents of the village of Susiya can now “choose” between coerced transfer to land adjacent to Area A or complete destruction of their village.
This policy of the Israeli government, which has been systematically implemented for years, constitutes the forcible transfer – directly: through demolition of homes, or indirectly: by creating an intolerable reality – of Palestinians who are protected persons in an occupied territory. This longstanding policy is unlawful, keeping Palestinian residents from leading normal lives, and is conspicuously cruel and systematic.