Israel: Stop Unlawful West Bank Home Demolitions
Israeli forces should immediately end unlawful demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures in Occupied Palestinian Territory. The demolitions have displaced at least 79 Palestinians since August 19, 2013. Demolitions of homes and other structures that compel Palestinians to leave their communities may amount to the forcible transfer of residents of an occupied territory, which is a war crime.
Human Rights Watch documented demolitions on August 19 in East Jerusalem that displaced 39 people, including 18 children. Israeli human rights groups and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented additional demolitions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank on August 20 and 21 that destroyed the homes of 40 people, including 20 children.
“When Israeli forces routinely and repeatedly demolish homes in occupied territory without showing that it’s necessary for military operations, it appears that the only purpose is to drive families off their land, which is a war crime,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The politics of peace talks do not make it any less unlawful for Israel to demolish Palestinians’ homes without a valid military reason.”
In one case, Israeli forces destroyed the tent in which a family of seven people was sheltering after the military demolished their home twice, OCHA reported. In another case, Israeli forces cut the road leading to the remaining home of an extended family in East Jerusalem, after demolishing their other adjoining homes in April.
Photo: Israeli forces demolished every structure in the Bedouin community of Tel `Adasa, in East Jerusalem, on August 19, 2013. © 2013 Jana Boulus/Human Rights Watch