Wide-scale demolitions in Khirbet Tana

On 2 March, the Israeli Civil Administration demolished 41 structures in the Area C community of Khirbet Tana, south-east of Nablus city. The demolition displaced ten families with 36 members, including 11 children, and affected the livelihoods of five additional families. Twelve of the demolished structures had been provided by the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society as humanitarian assistance; one of the demolished structures was a building that had served as an elementary school for nine students. The Israeli authorities had also previously demolished the community’s original school in 2011.

Khirbet Tana is home to approximately 250 people who rely on herding and agriculture for their livelihood. Because the residents of Khirbet Tana need grazing land for their livestock, most have little choice but to stay in the area.  Due to the community’s location within an area declared as a “firing zone” for training purposes, residents are denied building permits and have experienced repeated waves of demolitions, the last one taking place on 9 February.

Approximately 18 percent of area of the West Bank has been declared by the Israeli authorities as “firing zones”; 38 Palestinian communities are located within these areas. Because the Israeli Civil Administration prohibits construction in these areas, wide-scale demolitions frequently take place.

Since the beginning of 2016, the Israeli forces have destroyed or dismantled 323 homes and other structures across the West Bank, the vast majority in Area C, displacing almost 440 Palestinians. More than half of those displaced were children. Almost 1,700 other people lost structures related to their sources of income. Roughly one third of the structures targeted so far this year (108) were provided as humanitarian assistance to families in need. These are some of the highest levels of demolition and displacement recorded in a similar time frame since 2009.