Friday, June 19, 2009

Israel: Stop Demolishing Palestinian Homes | Human Rights Watch

Israel: Stop Demolishing Palestinian Homes Human Rights Watch:
"Israeli authorities destroyed the homes and property of 18 shepherd families in the northern Jordan Valley on June 4, 2009, displacing approximately 130 people, after ordering them on May 31 to evacuate because they were living in a 'closed military zone.' Some of the families whose homes and property were destroyed had been living in their village since at least the 1950s.

'Giving families less than a week to evacuate their homes, without any opportunity for review or appeal, is as heartless as it is unfair,' said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. 'Israel should have given these people due process to contest their displacement.'

At 7:30 a.m. on June 4, witnesses said, around 20 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) jeeps, three bulldozers, and several white cars belonging to the Israeli Civil Administration Authority arrived and blocked off the dirt access roads to the shantytown of ar-Ras al-Ahmar. The demolition operation began at 8 a.m. and destroyed 13 residential structures, 19 animal pens, and 18 traditional, underground ovens, according to the UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The 18 displaced families included 67 children, the agency reported. Israeli soldiers also confiscated a tractor, a trailer, and a portable water tank that residents used to truck in water, witnesses said.Under an Israeli military order from 1970, the government may evict persons living in a "closed military zone" without any judicial or administrative procedures. Section 90 of the order states that "permanent residents" can remain in an area later designated as closed, and that eviction orders cannot change their status as permanent residents. However, the Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that because the shepherds in the area are pastoralists, the term "permanent residents" does not apply to them.

Residents say that ar-Ras al-Ahmar and al-Hadidiyya date from at least the 1950s. The Israeli settlement of Ro'i was built between the two villages in 1978. The two communities and Ro'i lie within "Area C" of the West Bank, over which Israel retains near-total control under the Oslo Agreements of 1995.
"It's astonishing to see Israel evict Palestinians from their villages in the West Bank, yet again violating the rights of the occupied population, while allowing a settlement which by law should never have been built in the first place, to remain," said Whitson.

On June 9, Jabarin said, the Israeli High Court of Justice temporarily enjoined the state from further demolitions against the people remaining in ar-Ras al-Ahmar. In al-Hadidiyya, Jabarin said, seven families who received stop-construction orders will have the chance to appeal and to apply for building permits at the hearing.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in December 2006, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition against earlier demolition orders for al-Hadidiyya, because the affected buildings were in an area defined as agricultural in master plans from the British Mandatory period and posed a security threat to the nearby Ro'i settlement. Israeli authorities demolished homes in al-Hadidiyya in February and March 2008, displacing about 60 people in all. Some of the displaced families returned to the area later, but due to repeated evictions over the years, more than a dozen households from al-Hadidiyya have been permanently displaced.

While Israel, as the occupying power in the West Bank, may in some cases lawfully require residents to leave their homes, it must not do so arbitrarily and must afford affected persons meaningful due process. Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), among other treaties to which Israel is a party that apply in the West Bank, prohibits arbitrary or unlawful state interference with anyone's home."

It's strange that the closed military zone is only dangerous to Palestinians while remaining perfectly safe for illegal jewish settlers. Natural growth isn't legal unless you're illegal,and jewish. Palestinians have no rights a Jewish state feels bound to consider. Which is why Israel's right to exist as a state is one thing and its desire to be recognized as a Jewish state is something totally different and unacceptable. As unnacceptable as a White Christian state, about as democrastic as apartheid in South Africa.
con·cept: June 2009