Security forces destroyed a home, two cisterns and four animal sheds in the village. Security forces did not allow residents to remove their belongings from the mentioned home before it was destroyed. Also, they refused to allow residents to remove 15 lambs located in one of the animal sheds, which were killed with the shed’s destruction. Needless to say, these structures were critical for the continued survival of the Tha’alah residents.
The village of Sadat al-Tha’alah, which was established before 1881 in the area of the South Hebron Hills, is today home to over 150 residents, most of whom are part of the Alian Awad clan. The residents of the village make a living largely through agriculture and raising flocks of sheep. Currently, Tha’alah is unrecognized by the Israeli Civil Administration.
In 2004, the Israeli Civil Administration issued a number of demolition orders against various “unplanned” structures and buildings in Tha’ala, which it considers illegal. In 2005, a number of Tha’ala residents, along with the organization known as Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court (as the High Court of Justice or HCJ) against the aforementioned demolition orders. As part of the agreement reached between the petitioners and the security forces in the West Bank in HCJ Case 8125/05 on 24.12.2011, the petitioners were to submit a master building plan for their village for the Israeli Civil Administration’s consideration. In turn, security forces agreed to freeze the mentioned demolition orders for 60 days after the Civil Administration’s decision regarding the master building plan (Agreement between petitioners and security forces – 24.2.11).
The petitioners submitted the master building plan as requested in May 2011 and received confirmation that it was received. The Civil Administration has not yet published a decision regarding the plan.
On Wednesday, February 15, 2012, Rabbis for Human Rights received word from Tha’ala residents that the Israeli Civil Administration began executing the mentioned the demolitions, in opposition to the agreement reached by the sides. When the RHR legal department inquired with the Oversight Committee (ועדת הפיקוח) of the Israeli Civil Administration as to the reasoning behind the execution of the demolitions, it was informed that the Israeli Civil Administration did not receive the petitioners’ master building plan. Despite the RHR legal department’s attempt to clarify the situation, the Oversight Committee refused to halt the execution of the demolition orders.
The RHR legal department then turned to the office of the Attorney General, providing the office with the mentioned agreement between the sides and the building plan that was submitted by the petitioners. As of result of RHR’s work, the office of the Attorney General agreed to intervene in the demolitions, but it did so only after a number of structures had been destroyed.