ASSISTANCE DEMOLISHED/SEIZED IN 2022
In December 2022, the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 101 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Twenty-four of these had been provided as humanitarian aid. As a result, 65 people, including 34 children, were displaced, and the livelihoods or access to service of over 2,300 others were affected. All but one of the structures were targeted for lacking building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Area C and East Jerusalem.
In one of the incidents, in the Wadi as Seeq (Ramallah) area, the Israeli authorities demolished one structure and seized another nine without prior notice. The structures included five homes. Four of the structures were provided as humanitarian aid in response to previous demolitions. As a result, four households comprising 25 people, including 17 children, were displaced, and one refugee household comprising seven people, including five children, were otherwise affected. Another three donor-funded structures were demolished or seized in the communities of Isfey al Fouqa (Massafer Yatta, Hebron) and Al Jiftlik - al Musaff (Jericho), both in areas designated by the Israeli authorities as “firing zones” for military training. In the former community, the Israeli authorities seized two donor-funded tents and one donor-funded latrine unit provided in response to the Israeli authorities’ demolition of the community’s school on 23 November 2022, on the grounds that it lacked a building permit. The school served 21 students from three communities in southern Hebron.
Of the structures targeted in Area C, 23 were seized by the Israeli authorities without warning. This is a 77 per cent increase compared with a monthly average of 13 in the preceding monthsof 2022. Seizure procedures do not oblige the authorities to provide prior notice, thus preventing affected people from objecting in advance. The Israeli Civil Administration has referred to such practices as “a strategic tool”, which circumvents legal processes. Overall, in 2022, the number of structures seized without warning in Area C (110), is 60 per cent lower than the 35 recorded in 2021.
Additionally, during December, in the Area C communities of At Tuwani, Ma’in and Tatrit (all in Hebron) and Furush Beit Dajan (Nablus), the Israeli authorities demolished a total of six structures based on Military Order 1797, which provides only a 96-hour notice and very limited grounds for legally challenging a demolition. A total of 228 Palestinian-owned structures, including one school, have been demolished based on this order since it came into effect in July 2019.
19 December 2022: Israeli Civil administration along with the Israeli forces demolished five structures in Area C in Jericho ©Photo by the affected family
In East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities demolished or forced people to demolish 12 structures in December, including six which were demolished by their owners to avoid the payment of fines. Overall, 2022 saw a significant increase in the number of structures demolished by their owners in East Jerusalem, following the issuance of demolition orders, which reached 51 per cent, up from an average of 34 per cent in the previous five years. This is attributable to an Israeli legislation approved by the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) in October 2017, which limits the authority of Israeli courts to intervene and provides the Jerusalem Municipality with several means to exert pressure upon owners to demolish their properties by themselves.
The cumulative number of structures demolished or seized in 2022 (953) across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was the highest since 2016, and five per cent more than in 2021. The number of donor-funded aid structures targeted in 2022 (140) was the third highest since 2016, but 36 per cent lower than in 2021.
Also in 2022, the Israeli authorities sealed off four artesian water wells in Area B, up from two in the previous four years combined. The four wells were or would have been the main drinking water source for at least 3,500 Palestinian families in nine communities.
Furthermore, during 2022, eleven Palestinian-owned homes and three other structures were demolished by the Israeli authorities on punitive grounds, compared with three in all of 2021 and seven in 2020. Nine of these structures were in Area A, four in Area B and one in East Jerusalem. As a result, 14 households were displaced (comprising 71 people, including 29 children) and nine households were otherwise affected (comprising 59 people, including 30 children). These punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment, prohibited under international law and often trigger confrontations and clashes between the Palestinian communities and Israeli forces. In 2022, clashes erupted during demolitions, in which Israeli forces shot and killed five Palestinians, including one child, and injured 88 others.
More information is included in the PDF version of this report.
Interactive charts with data since 2009 are available here.