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Date posted: February 22, 2003
By MIFTAH

Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem from January 2002 until present.

Background:

Palestinian home demolition continues to be one of the harshest Israeli occupation policies against the Palestinian people. Since June 1967, Israel has demolished more than 6000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and more than 2,500 in occupied east Jerusalem. It is estimated that, since the first Intifada of 1987, Israel has made more than 16,000 Palestinians completely homeless.

Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes constitutes a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, in which the occupying power (Israel) is legally bound to protect the population which it occupies (the Palestinians). It also illustrates a clear case of collective punishment, a practice that is immoral, illegal, and unacceptable by any standards of human conduct. The demolition of houses or destruction of other private property of individuals residing in occupied territories is explicitly forbidden by the Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 53), as is collective punishment (Article 33).

There are broadly two different pretexts for Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes; 1-Palestinian homes built without permits (this is particularly significant in east Jerusalem), and 2-homes demolished for "security" measures (or as punitive measures to deter "terrorism"). In both cases, Israeli occupation forces carry out a premeditated act of demolition, in which entire families are robbed of the most basic of all human rights, the right to food and shelter.

The following demonstrates, in figures, the magnitude of the damage inflicted by the Israeli government upon the Palestinian population of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem during the years of the current Intifada, 2001 and 2002.

Please note that these figures exclude homes that were completely/partially destroyed by Israeli shelling, i.e. residential buildings destroyed during Israel's shelling of Palestinian areas. Also note that some homes are uninhabited, therefore no person/s were made homeless.

Facts and Figures:

Year: 2001
Palestinian homes demolished under the pretext of having "no Permit"

Year: 2001
Palestinian homes demolished under the pretext of "security"

Year: 2002
Palestinian homes demolished under the pretext of having "no Permit"

Year: 2002
Palestinian homes demolished under the pretext of "security"


* Estimated number of homes demolished in Jenin refugee camp during the massacre

Year: 2003
Palestinian homes demolished under the pretext of "security"

Conclusion:

Since January 2001, Israel demolished a total of 835 Palestinian homes: 182 of which were demolished on the basis of having been built without the required permit (i.e. "administrative demolition order"), and 653 of which were destroyed for alleged "security" precautions. Thousands of other Palestinian homes have been either partially or completely destroyed by Israeli shelling and shooting since January 2001.

Sources:

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Btselemwww.btselem.org
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitionswww.icahd.org/eng
The Palestine Monitorwww.palestinemonitor.org
Human Rights Watchwww.hrw.org
Al-Haqwww.alhaq.org
LAWwww.lawsociety.org

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