An Israeli home demolition
On 23 November, a unit of the occupation forces demolished a Palestinian-owned home in the Wadi al-Hummos area in the village of Sur Baher, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem.
According to local media outlets, soldiers raided, then cordoned the area off before bulldozers moved in and tore down a three-story house belonging to a local resident.
The incident comes less than two weeks after 49 structures including a mosque were demolished in the West Bank.
Over the last few years, Israeli authorities have ramped up the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israeli authorities has demolished at least 780 Palestinian-owned structures in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since January 2021.
Demolition orders are issued under the pretext that these Palestinian homes and buildings have been built without Israeli-issued permits. However, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians in the occupied territories to obtain building permits.
For instance, between the years 2016 and 2018, only 21 out of 1,485 Palestinian applications for construction permits in Area C of the West Bank were approved by Israeli authorities.
“If we apply for building permits, we never get them.” (Musa).
What would you do if you needed an unobtainable permit to save your home from demolition?
Read our article on the challenges #Palestinians face every day: https://t.co/x5Wr1O0tUb pic.twitter.com/3vEIZfNSjC
— OCHA oPt (Palestine) (@ochaopt) July 12, 2021
In July, the UN called on Tel Aviv to stop the demolition of Palestinian properties and social infrastructures, such as schools and water wells, which have not been spared by the bulldozers of the occupation forces. Israel, however, routinely ignores UN resolutions regarding its conduct in the occupied territories.
Demolished homes are often replaced by settlements for Israeli settlers, despite the practice being illegal under international law as well as a violation of the absolute prohibition against “settler implantation” in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.