House demolished 1.5 years after demolition order issued
Jordan Valley Solidarity has condemned the latest demolition of Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley, when another home in Al Jiftlik village was demolished on 22nd November 2017.
Rashed Khudairi, coordinator of Jordan Valley Solidarity said:
“We demand that international institutions ensure that international law in upheld and Article 4 of the 1949 Geneva Convention be enforced. The enforcement of this law would increase the protection of Palestinians and compensate them for their material and moral losses brought about by the occupation. In this way the Israeli state can be held accountable for its criminal acts and crimes against humanity.”
On the 22 of November 2017 the Israeli Occupation Forces arrived in Al Jiftlik village in order to demolish a house that belonged to the Al Aram family. The house was used as a shelter for animals with the approximate size of 150 square meters. The IDF arrived at 8am with four military jeeps, two bulldozers and two other vehicles. These vehicles were holding approximately twenty soldiers, additional workers to remove property items and belongings, and administrative representatives who had the alleged documents for the house demolition. After ordering the family to leave the premises the IDF commenced the removal of property items and ultimately destroyed the structure twenty minutes after their arrival. During the family were not allowed to enter the property area. The family and neighbors were present, as well as internationals and activists from JVS and EAPPI. The occupation forces intimidated and harassed the family and those supporting them by filming, and pushing and shouting at them. The area where the house stood was declared a closed military zone, preventing the family from entering it to claim their property.
The demolition order was issued to the Al Aram family approximately 1 ½ years ago by the occupation forces. They were given 45 days to appeal to court to annul the demolition order. However, the family does not have the permission to leave the West Bank or enter the 48 area such as Jerusalem. They tried to apply for a permission to enter Jerusalem to attend court, but they were denied. The lawyer representing their case appealed with official documents that they were asked to present. The case was denied and the family lost the appeal. The family then heard nothing else from the occupation for 1 ½ years until the day they arrived to demolish their home.
In many cases house demolition orders are being carried out long periods of time after the initial issuing of the order. Families lack information and can be subjugated to the demolition at any time. Soldiers can arbitrarily arrive with alleged documents and proceed without discussion. The arbitrary nature of the implementation of orders can keep families in constant distress over long periods of time. In many cases the lack of mobility that Palestinians have prevents them from being able to go to court or trial and be actively involved in the case as well as lack information on the case. In many cases the house demolitions are performed rapidly, which makes it difficult for activist to arrive on site and support the family and document the atrocities. The house demolition has robbed the family of expensive resources and money that they have invested. The lack of awareness and attention both financially and politically for people living in villages that experience these house demolitions impedes them from recovering and getting justice.
Rashed Khudairi, further stated:
“The demolition of Palestinian houses in Area C is an Israeli policy initiated in 1997 with the aim of displacing Palestinians from their land after they failed to completely evacuate the land of Palestinians in the 1967 war. Palestinians have been killed and displaced, their water and land have been confiscated. Israel claims that Palestinians are illegal residents. However, official documents that are hundred years old prove the legal right of Palestinians to their land. This legal right has been prevented by settlers illegally occupying Palestinian territory, which has contributed to such events as house demolitions amongst other things.”