Tag archive for "demolition"
For immediate release: Series of home demolitions and major tension in the East Jerusalem area
FEBRUARY 5 2014: A home in the East Jerusalem village of Umm Lison was demolished today while security forces prepare to demolish two additional homes in Jabel Mukaber, also East Jerusalem. Currently, those demolitions are on hold due to an immediate halting order. The residents are resisting and five young Palestinians have been arrested thus far. At least one home was demolished in Beit Hanina as well.
These demotions come as a result of systemic planning and land allocation discrimination in East Jerusalem, with Palestinians under-represented on planning committees. City planning attempts to preserve the city’s demographic balance by choking Palestinian construction and annexing to Jerusalem dozens of Palestinian villages which historically have not been connected to Jerusalem. This policy is no secret: the city’s master plan explicitly mentions the prevention of Palestinian building as a strategy for the preservation of “demographic balance” within the city.
PRESS RELEASE | February 4th 2014
The High Court of Justice rejects two petitions regarding the Palestinian village of Susya, enabling the IDF to evade responsibility for land theft
Rabbis for Human Rights:
“The High Court of Justice has enabled the State to evade its responsibility in preventing seizures of land belonging to Palestinian farmers. This is not a case of civil strife between two equal neighbours, but rather systemic military discrimination that has enabled and even supported coerced removal of Palestinian farmers from their lands.” Continue Reading
PRESS RELEASE | January 28, 2014
The High Court of Justice consolidates petition to expedite destruction of a Palestinian village with petition against blocking village residents from accessing their agricultural lands.
On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, the High Court of Justice will conduct an additional hearing on the right-wing organization Regavim’s petition demanding the demolition of the Palestinian village Susya in the South Hebron Hills. The High Court of Justice decided to attach the hearing on this petition to the hearing on Rabbis for Human Rights’ petition to allow Palestinian farmers from Susya access to their agricultural lands near the village, as well as to the settlement Susya.
Rabbis for Human Rights:
We cannot understand why the High Court of Justice decided to attach Regavim’s petition to demolish Susya to our petition against blocking the Palestinian residents from accessing their land. These are two separate issues.
Quamar Mishirqi-Asad, Attorney, Head of Rabbis for Human Rights’ legal department:
In several cases dealing with settler incursion into Palestinian land, we have seen the army attempting to shirk responsibility. In many instances, the army was negligent or even contributed to the incursion. Additionally, this is not a conflict between two neighbors of equal status, but rather a coordinated attempt by extreme ideological activists amongst the settlers to displace people without rights who are living under a military regime. Therefore, the security apparatus must take responsibility over this phenomenon accordingly.
WATCH: Regavim against Susya (Israel Social TV)
On Friday, January 3rd 2014, Rabbi Ascherman led a group of rabbinical, cantorial and education students on study-tour to the South Hebron Hills, the major geographical focus of RHR’s legal department. Students learned about the fascinating culture of the cave-dwelling Palestinians there, and visited Bir El ‘Id, a village abandoned for ten years due to settler intimidation until RHR’s legal team returned them to their homes in 2009, Palestinian Susya, where RHR’s legal department continues to fight on behalf of its residents to keep their homes and lands, as well as Ad Dirat. The group was joined by one of RHR’s attorney’s, Miya Keren. Continue Reading
Many of you have anxiously enquired what happened in Court on Thursday. We were cautiously optimistic about the attitude of the judges, and feel that we succeeded in making the point that neither the position of Regavim nor the position of the State is just. The fact that there is no zoning plan allowing the residents of Susya to build legally, and the fact that the security forces are dragging their feet in dealing with cases of land takeovers, denial of access to lands, inadequate protection against violence, etc., are both functions of the power the State holds over Palestinians because Palestinians are not represented in the bodies controlling their fate.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman Advocate Quamar Mishirqi Asad
Head of RHR’s OT Legal Department
Here is the RHR press release written after we received the Court’s interim decisions on Sunday:
On Sunday (February 2nd) the Israeli Supreme Court Issued Interim Decisions Following Last Thursday’s (31 January) Hearing Regarding the Palestinian Village of Susya
Last Thursday RHR represented the Palestinian village of Susya in Israel’s Supreme Court in one case where the extreme right wing NGO Regavim demanded the demolition of the entire village. The Court also heard RHR’s petition calling for an end of foot dragging by the Israeli Civil Administration in multiple examples of land takeovers, denial of access to Palestinian owned farming and grazing lands, and sources of water, etc. In the first case the Court is giving the Government the time it requested to process an alternative zoning plan submitted by RHR in order to legalize Susya’s homes, and acceded to our demand that 90 days be given to create a second plan for additional homes not represented by RHR and outside the first plan. Regarding RHR’s petition, the Court issued an order demanding that the State report within 60 days on progress made. Last week over 1,000 of letters were sent to President Shimon Peres within several days asking for his assistance to ensure that the residents of Susya are not displaced yet again. The President can not intervene with the court process, but can ask the State to take place to safeguard the residents.
Regarding the petition of the far-right organization Regavim calling for demolition of the village, the court decided – in accordance with attorneys Avital Sharon and Kamer Mishraki of RHR, who represent the village – to grant an extension of 90 days, to allow for the preparation of a plan for the southern section of the village. The state has never provided suitable planning for Palestinian Susya, as it must. The planning system determining the fate of Palestinians in Area C is a military system in which Palestinians are not represented. (It is as if the Palestinian Police were to plan Israeli towns without involving Israelis in the process). Granting the possibility of submitting plans by private parties in dialogue with the villagers is the least that can be expected in terms of justice and fairness.
In the petition that RHR submitted on behalf of the Susya residents against the methodical blockage of Palestinian access to their lands, the court gave the state 90 days to detail its plans. In paragraph 1 of the decision the court directs the State to address in detail each plot around Susya, and in the absence of a court decision, to provide a date by which the investigation will conclude.
Quammar Mishirqi Asad (Attorney heading RHR’s OT Legal Department): “Overall it’s a positive ruling, under the circumstances. You have to understand that the attempt to expell the Palestinian villagers of Susya to the town of Yata, far from their livelihood – their fields – demonstrates a readiness to trample human rights in favor of an unofficial political policy to annex parts of Area C – annexation of land without Palestinians. Any political program must be subject to the principles of human and civil rights.”
Rabbi Arik Ascherman: “The truth is, it is we Israelis who are on trial. How is it that we have created a country in which we that twice expelled families from their homes, reduced them to living on their farmlands in caves, destroyed those caves, and then issued demolition orders on every alternative shelter they built? The prophet Nathan once accused King David of being akin to a rich man who takes the one little ewe lamb of a poor man, “You are that man.” (Samuel II 12:7) When the ruling comes out, we will know if we are that state. King David recognized that he was the man.. If we recognize who we are today, maybe we will succeed in becoming who we want to be tomorrow.”
A Brief History of Palestinian Susya: In the 1980’’s the original village was designated an archaeological zone and cleared of its residents with no alternative accommodations; entry by Palestinians was barred, not even as visitors. With no choice the uprooted villagers moved to their nearby fields. All buildings deemed illegal are the result of forced expulsion, as is the destruction of the caves in which most of the villagers lived until 2001 (which is what forced them to set up tents). For more extended history please click Here!
This week the Civil Administration informed the inhabitants of Palestinian Susya of its intention to soon carry out six demolition orders that were issued in the 1990s and in 2001. These orders apply to most of the area of Susya and relate to some fifty buildings, including residential buildings, animal pens, solar energy panels and water cisterns (Palestinian Susya, like most of the villages in the south Hebron hills, is not connected to the electricity and water grid). These orders add to numerous similar orders that were issued to Susya recently. These Demolition orders have been issued despite the fact that the land in question is a private land of inhabitants of Palestinian Susya disregarding the absence of amaster plan for Susya which denies the residents of Palestinian Susya any possibility of obtaining building permits from the Civil Administration. If these demolitions are carried out, hundreds of residents of Palestinian Susya will be cast out into the burning desert sun for the fifth time in twenty five years. The Israeli public does not know the local history and so we are presenting this guest article which details the history of the village.
ThevillageofPalestinian Susyahas existed for centuries, long before the establishment of the settlement of Susya in 1983. There are documentary evidence of a settlement in the area dating back to 1830, and it is also marked on British mandatory maps from 1917. In 1948, the original population was augmented by Palestinian refugees who were expelled from the area of Ramat Arad and acquired land in the area. The residents of Khirebt Susya, now living nearby in isolated sites in the area north of the settlement, originally lived in the village Susya el Kadima (“old Susya”) in the area of the ancient synagogue of Susya, an area that was an inhabited village up until the 1980s. Their ownership of the land is has been legally esthbalished and attorney Plea Albeck, one of the architects of Israel’s project to seize control over lands gr in theWest Bank, wrote in a legal opinion from 1982 that the land was privately owned.
In June 1986, three years after the establishment of the settlement of Susya, the village lands were requisitioned “for public use” and the location was declared an archaeological site. Later on, the territory that was requisitioned was put under the jurisdiction of the settlement of Susya. Entry into this area is forbidden to Palestinians by an army order which forbids Palestinians from entering any area of settlement without a special permit.
The inhabitants of the village were expelled from their homes and their land and lost most of their possessions. The residents could not oppose the eviction but they continued to work on their (private) land and settled in an area about500 metersfrom their village, known today as Rojum al-Hamri, near the settlement of Susya. The nearness of the red-roofed houses of the settlement, whose inhabitants did not want these “new” – old neighbors, brought the a second expulsion upon the Palestinian inhabitants. One night in 1990, they were loaded onto lorries and taken (together with their belongings) to the Ziph Junction about15 kilometersnorth of Susya. As they had already been expelled from their village and from the Rojum, the residents returned to the agricultural areas that they owned and settled in caves and huts, and from now on each family lived on their agricultural lands.
Watch this video from November 2010, where you can see a soldier brutally attacking Naser a-Nawajaa, a photographer for B’Tselem and an activist living in Susya, who was protecting children who were looking after their family’s flock on family land. The soldiers were trying to detain them.
In the following ten years, the settlers of Susya took over their neighbors’ lands and actually created an unofficial closed area into which Palestinians are not allowed. In several cases inhabitants who entered this area were shot and killed. Among them was Mahmud Muhamed a-Nawajaa who was killed by a settler as he was shepherding his flock on his land in 1991, and Mussa Abu Sabha who was shot in the head by Yoram Shkolnik - after he had been arrested and handcuffed by the army. The way that the army treats this forbidden area, whose borders have never been defined and change frequently according to the whims of the soldiers and the officers, is well illustrated in this November 2010 video. We can see a soldier brutaaly attacking and arresting Naser a-Nawajaa, a photographer for B’Tselem and a local activist who was protecting children who were looking after their family’s flock on family land, when the soldiers tried to stop them.
In June 2001, following the murder of the settler Yair Har-Sinai in the area of Susya, the inhabitants of Susya became the target of a retaliatory action and were expelled yet again. The expulsion was carried out without warning and was exceptionally violent: Caves were destroyed, wells clogged, fields wasted and animals killed. The expulsion was accompanied by violent arrests and beatings. According to the testimonies of inhabitants, some of the perpetrators of expulsion were citizens and not army or police, and there is a suspicion that it was settlers who knew the area and who supervised the work.
On September 26, 2001 the Supreme Court ordered the destruction of buildings to stop. In the months after the expulsion, some of the residents of Susya returned to their lands and passed the summer in difficult conditions. Israeli activists joined in their fight against the expulsion order. In autumn 2001 there was a legal battle between the inhabitants, helped by the lawyer Shlomo Lecker, and the army. The High Court issued a temporary injunction and told the army to allow the residents to return, and decreed that this expulsion also, like the previous one, was illegal. The implementation of the Supreme court ruling on the ground was made possible only by a massive action on the ground of some 400 Israeli activsts. Further, Not all the inhabitants returned after the temporary injunction, and those who did were expelled for a fourth time apparently by the decision of a mid-ranking officer, implemented during the Jewish fast of Yum Kippur. This decision was reversed afterwards.
The reality created on the ground by the settlers, assisted by the army, using measures that can be defined as “by-passing the courts,” became increasingly unbearable. Violence by the settlers increased. In addition, the settlers set up outposts on land that had previously been used by the Palestinian inhabitants. In 2000, mobile buildings were positioned in the area of Rojum al Hamri, in 2001 the outpost of “Havat Dalia” was set up ,this year also saw the expansion of ranch that was initally called “Havat Magen David” and today is known as “Mitzpeh Yair.” In 2002 another outpost was set up within the archaeological site of Susya, from which the Palestinians had been expelled in 1986. Today there are within the confines of the site a guesthouse, a swimming pool and a workshop that is apparently manufacturing parts for mobile hosues. Officially, the settlers are also forbidden from building within the archaeological site, but it seems that when building offenses in Susya are committed by settlers and not by Palestinians, the Civil Administration less than enthusiastic to deal with it. During all these years, the inhabitants continued to fight for their right to be on their lands, and they even tried to submit a master plan, an attempt which was foiled by the discriminatory planning policy of the occupation authorities.
The support that the army provides to the settlers enables them to seize more and more of the lands of the inhabitants of Palestinian Susya. Over the years, the settlers have escalated the violence, preventing the farmers from working on their land in an area ten times larger than the settlement itself, taken over agricultural lands of their neighbors and harmed anyone who disturbed them fulfilling their vision of controlling the area. The confrontations between settlers and Palestinians became violent. A petition to the Supreme Court that was filed in 2010, the inhabitants of Palestinian Susya represented by “Rabbis for Human Rights” demanded that settlers violence will be restrained and that they will be allowed access to their lands, enumerated 93 incidents of violence by settlers against Palestinians, some of them by hooded assailants. Since then, there have been many more. The destruction of fields and trees, the sabotage of wells and water tanks, the poisoning of fields of pasture and water wells, the systematic harassment of shepherds and even the setting fire to tents and attacking families in their houses in the dead of night – these are frequent scenes in the lives of the inhabitants of Susya. It should be noted that the police demonstrates an utter incompetence in enforcing the law on the settlers of Susya and its outposts
In October 2011, an army commander declared significant portions of the lands belonging to residents who petitone the Supreme Court as an area closed to Israelis, in order to prevent further taking over of land and trespassing. In an act of retaliation over the closing of the area ,the right wing organization “Regevim” and the co-operative of Susya (which runs the settlement) petitioned the Supreme Court (HCJ 1556/12) in February 2012, requesting the demolition of the village buildings which are described in the petition as “an illegal outpost.” . The Regevim petition referred indiscriminately and without exception to all the petitioners in the above-mentioned petition, even though most of them own land in the village but do not live there nor do they own buildings in the village. It seems likely that the petition of Regevim was filed in retaliation for the petition by the inhabitants of Palestinian Susya. In the Regevim petition, the claim is also made of a “security threat” faced by the settlers from the village’s inhabitants. The reality contradicts this claim, and the closing of the territory solely to Israelis in fact demonstrates the need of the Palestinians for protection against the settlers.
Further Regavim petition ignores the fact that the planning policy that Israel implements in Area C denies Palestinians living in this area the option of building in a way that is deemed legal by the occupation authorities. Since the 1970s, there has been a dramatic decline in the rate of building permits issued to the Palestinian population. In the year 1972, 2134 permits were issued, 97% out of those requested. From then on, the issuing of pertimes have been in a constant decline. In 2005, only 13 permits were issued, amounting to 6.9% of the 189 requests filed. It can be seen that, together with the sharp decline in permits, there was also a dramatic decline in requests. This trend has continued in recent years and even worsened. In 2009 only six permits were granted, in 2010 – seven. The demolition policy discriminates against the Palestinians.
According to the statistics produced bythe Civil Administration, between the years 2000-2007 A third of the demolition orders that were issued against buildings located in Palestinian community were carried out, as opposed to less then 7% of demolition ordered issued against buildings in settlements. In the years 2008-2011, the Civil Administration demolished 1101 Palestinian buildings. In those years, all the master plans that were filed concerning Palestinian communities were rejected without exception. The planning failure is also reflected in the lack of basic and essential infrastructure for the Palestinians such as electricity, water, education and health services. Meanwhile, the settlers enjoy splendid planning. From this data, we can see that it is not an issue of legal compulsion, but of deliberate policy ,behind which lies a clear program: to carry out the quiet transfer of Palestinians from Areas C, as is also shown in the reports of the delegations of the UN and the European Union.
The article was written by Dolev Rahat and Dror Etkes and Taayush Activists. special thanks to Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asad
No access to Palestinian farmers to their lands.| cc: flickr – Reaper with Sickle (after Millet) By artanonymous
A. Wheat Harvest:
Yanoun: There is a dirt road that leads eastwards in the direction of the Jordan valley. Settlers from one of the outposts of Itamar, apparently “Hill 777″ next to Upper Yanoun (called “the Gidonim” area by the army) attack every Palestinian farmer who attempts to pass. There is no other way to reach 200 dunams of wheat fields in that area. A conversation with the head of the DCO led to an official response that “no one, neither settlers nor Palestinians will pass there as the area is subject to friction…” but in fact the settlers frequent the area without problems from the army.
In Awarta the wheat harvest has been completed without any problems. In the village of Farrata they also finished the wheat harvest without incident. In Burin in the area near the Shomron army base, where there have often been problems in past years, the wheat was harvested without interference.
The problems bringing in the harvest in the South Hebron Hills have already been reported elsewhere (fires, attacks, bureaucratic obstacles). Unlike the small gains in the Shomron, the Judea region has seen no improvement in coordination. Enforcement of Palestinian rights to work the land in area C however, still leaves a lot to be desired throughout the West Bank, as the settlements continue to expand there.
B. Problems of Access and Vandalism to Trees:
In the village of Dir Amar, next to the Jewish settlements Neriya and Nahniel, Palestinian farmers discovered during a coordinated plowing day on 12th June, 20012 that 60 old olive trees had been damaged, many of them completely cut down. The suspicion is that the source of this vandalism is from one of the settlements in the area, but since there are so many difficulties coordinating plowing there it is difficult to know when exactly this act of destruction was carried out. Nevertheless, and with our encouragement, a complaint was lodged with the police in Modiim, who sent the owners on to Beth El to produce documents to prove ownership. (This is how the labyrinth of the occupation bureaucracy makes life impossible for these farmers, leading many to give up any hope of justice.)
New orders to expel shepherds from the grazing lands east of the Alon road – the area adjacent to the village of Mureir - have been issued. We will investigate the extent of the problem and report back.
C. Summer Camps with the Jahalin:
Our preparations for Jahalin summer camps continue. We donated an awning (500 shekels ) for use at the Jabel camp next to Azaria and will soon be purchasing arts and crafts materials. Any earmarked donation for sports equipment or food for the kids (there are 60+) during the camp is very welcome. The camp, led by a local Bedouin teacher and her sisters, will run this year from June 24th until July 12th on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m until 12:00 a.m.
We are looking for additional volunteers, preferably youngor youngat heart, Arabic-speaking, with special summer camp skills (arts, music, sports…) to donate their time and energy. Transport will be provided. For more information and registration contact Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann050-2110639 or Yohanatan Shefa 050-2025997.
There will be another 4 or 5 summer camps running at the same time at Khan El Achmar, Abu Hindi, Anata and possibly Abu Nawahr to which we have been invited to contribute if we have enough resources. These camps are being run by our colleagues from Vienta de Tierra or the Combini Sisters with whom we have cooperated over the years. UNRWA, YMCA and “Clowns Without Borders” are also assisting.
We will be looking for volunteers later this summer – end of July and early August to participate in a project in the South Hebron Hills of repair and renewal of water cisterns in the area. Anyone interested in helping please leave contact details at the RHR office by the end of June: telephone 02-6783611 Note: this will entail strenuous early morning physical work.
FATE OF HUNDREDS OF PALESTINIAN HOMES LIE IN THE BALANCE Continue Reading
The Civil Administration states facts in the OT and comes out strongly against the local resident. In the first case, Abu Asama, from the village of El-Hader, reveals to us a twisted reality. At the same time that the Civil Administration does not recognize his ownership on his lands and he fights against demolition orders, the settlers actually destroy his property by constant harassments. The second case, the village of Bir El Id received demolition orders for the solar panels, the only electricity source of the village and is now fighting for its existence and future. Continue Reading
© 2014 Rabbis for Human Rights. Powered by WordPress.