UN OCHA Report on Abel al Ajaaj demolitions
In October the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on the settler attacks against the Abel Al Ajaj community in Al Jiftlik.
To read the full report: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_the_humanitarian_monitor_2010_11_12_english.pdf
The report stated:
In October, Israeli settlers from Massu’a settlement (population 140) attempted to take control of approximately 49 dunums of land belonging to the village of Al Jiftlik (population 5,000), located in Area C in the Jordan Valley. The land, which is located between Road 90 and the road leading to the settlement, is part of Abu al Ajaj area of Jiftlik and is home to 33 Bedouin families (est. population 130).
Since the late 1990s, Palestinian families in the area have been threatened with displacement, both from the expansionist activities of Masu’a settlers and due to stop work and eviction orders issued by the Israeli Civil Administration on the grounds that they live on “State Land”.5 According to Palestinian residents, since the early 2000s, settlers from Masu’a have taken control of some 50 dunums in the area by fencing plots of land and cultivating them with crops in order to expand the settlement.
Tensions emerged again in mid-October when Israeli settlers went to Abel al Ajaj area to demolish two animal barracks, which had received stop work orders from the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) earlier in the month. Following intervention by the UN and the ICA, Israeli forces arrived in the area and prevented clashes between settlers and Palestinians. A few days later, however, confrontations took place when settlers returned to the area and began fencing a plot of land by erecting metal fence posts. The settlers’ fencing activities continued through the end of October, by which point, settlers had placed fence posts along some 500 meters of land, including 200 meters along which chain link was installed. During this period, clashes again erupted and resulted in multiple Palestinian injuries (see Settler Violence section).
If completed, the fence will obstruct the access of the Bedouin families residing in the area, who own approximately 5,000 sheep and rely on herding for their livelihoods. Currently, the fenced area is the route the herders use to leave and return to their homes. The herders have no alternative route as they are forbidden from using the road leading to the settlement and the other route, near Road 90, that might provide access is agricultural land cultivated by Palestinians.
It put this in the context of increased demolitions throughout the West Bank
Reported rise in West Bank demolition orders
In October, a total of 25 structures were demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 39 Palestinians and affecting at least 76 others. In the first ten months of 2010, a total of 313 Palestinian structures were demolished in these areas.6 While this represent an increase compared to the number of structures demolished during the parallel period in 2009 (255), fewer people have been displaced in 2010 demolitions (402 compared to 546). Two of this month’s demolitions occurred in the context of a military operation in the Israeli controlled area of Hebron (H2), while the rest were carried out due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits.
Also this month, OCHA recorded the delivery of “stop work” and demolition orders against 32 structures in Area C, as well as 10 eviction orders against families residing in Area C in the Salfit, Tubas, Ramallah and Nablus governorates.
According to the Displacement Working Group (DWG) Legal Taskforce, a survey of organizations providing legal aid in Area C shows a steep increase in the number of requests to legally challenge stop work and demolition orders, which may indicate a rise in the issuance of such orders by the Israeli Civil Administration; lawyers for five of the primary legal aid providers9 are currently providing legal assistance to cases of 501 orders that were issued in the first seven months of 2010, compared to 171 orders issued in the last seven months of 2009. The majority of the orders issued during the 14 month period surveyed were delivered in the Hebron (209), Ramallah (149) and Nablus (75) governorates.
The Humanitarian Monitor October 2010