SHAMS report documents hundreds of home demolitions and new installations by Israel 

PNN/ Ramallah/

Human Rights and Democracy Media Center”SHAMS” launched its semi-annual observatory on Israeli demolitions, confiscations, evictions and seizures against Palestinian establishments, whether religious, tourist, industrial, commercial, educational, official or agricultural, with a focus on residential ones. Which came under the title (The semi-annual monitoring report on Israeli demolitions against Palestinian houses and installations by “Israel” the occupying authority in the occupied Palestinian territory). As a specialized observatory, it is the first in Palestine in this regard. 

The monitoring report was based on a methodology that relayed on field monitoring by the team and researchers of the “SHAMS” Center, who monitored and counted the Israeli violations against Palestinian installations during the period 1/1/2020 – 6/31/2020 in all West Bank governorates, taking into account the objectives of issuing this Semi-Annual Observatory, and then work on analyzing, disaggregating and outputting data in the form of tables and graphs, according to a comprehensive analytical map of quantitative and qualitative indicators.

 The first indicator focused on the geographical distribution of demolitions and notifications to monitor the targeted areas, as the governorates of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jericho, Al-Aghwar (the valleys), and Bethlehem were at the height of the attacks, and they are the same governorates that are most targeted in the Israeli annexation plans.

While the second indicator focused on the frequency of violations and the time of targeting distributed by months, as May was the highest month in terms of notifications with (265) notifications, and the following month June was the highest in terms of demolitions, which reached (90) operations with Pointing out that each operation involved one or more facilities. This indicates that Israeli violations will escalate in the coming days, at an increasing rate. 

As for the third indicator, it reviewed the percentage of homeless children as a result of Israeli violations of the right to habitat out of the total homeless population, which reached (20%) according to the sample. The fourth indicator focused on women as a primary target in the Israeli operations and the feminization of demolition indicators by monitoring the number of establishments that were demolished or confiscated and owned by women, which amounted to (6%) of the total targeted establishments, most of which are houses. 

 The fifth indicator reviewed the type of targeted establishments, whether residential: houses, brick rooms, tents, portacabin, caravans, wooden rooms or the rest of the agricultural, commercial, industrial, touristic and religious establishments, in which a tremendous diversity was observed, as the targets included mosques, shops, village council buildings, schools, parks, gardens, car washrooms , livestock sheds, water wells, a solar energy project, and even centers to deal with the Corona virus … etc. Noting that the vast majority of the targeted facilities are housing, at a rate of 47% of the total Israeli attacks, and a total of (336) demolitions.

The demolitions were distributed geographically as follows: Jerusalem (90), Hebron(40), Jericho and Al Aghwar (the valleys) (29), Bethlehem (20), Nablus (16), Ramallah (14), Jenin (5), Tubas (5), Tulkarm (4), Salfit (3). As for the distribution of notices of demolition, confiscation, eviction, or construction cessation, they were as follows: Jerusalem (217), Hebron(81), Jericho and Al-Aghwar (13), Bethlehem (52), Nablus (9), Ramallah (11), Jenin (7), Tubas, Tulkarm (1), Salfit (52), Qalqilya (2)

As for the targeted housing facilities according to their type, they are: (229) houses, (19) residential rooms, (19) residential tents, (42) residential sheds, (12) residential caravans, and (4) residential wooden rooms. As for the facilities targeted according to their type, they are (209) shops, (4) touristic facilities, (38) agricultural rooms, (5) schools, (4) car washrooms, (3) village councils, (35) livestock sheds, (26) water wells, (18) Retaining walls, (7) warehouses.

The sixth indicator monitored and analyzed the Israeli arguments for demolition and the relentless attempts to legitimize the crime against Palestinian installations, as the excuse of building without a permit in areas (C) occupied the lion’s share of 89% of the arguments for Israeli violations. In other cases, strange arguments were used, such as the view of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a justification for the demolition! In addition to the use of the crime of demolition, which is criminalized by international law and classifies it as a war crime as a collective punishment against the facilities of the families of the Palestinian strugglers against the Israeli colonial forces.

As for the last indicator, it focused on “self-demolition” and the persistence in oppression by forcing the Palestinians themselves to demolish their installations, especially their houses, under threat of heavy fines. With help of the courts, the local authorities, the police forces and the occupation army, the colonial system forced the Palestinian owners to demolish (35) establishments. “SHAMS” Center monitoring team noticed that the self-demolition operations can be arranged in ascending order according to their proximity or distance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, the operations were concentrated in the Jabal al-Mukaber neighborhood and it decreased the further we moved away from the holy Al-Haram Al-Sharif, to the slightest percentage of self-demolition in Abu Dis. 

The monitoring report included a literary framework in which the “SHAMS” Center team reviewed the nature of the right to habitat and its interconnectedness with other rights, such as the right to work, health, social security, elections, privacy, education, physical safety and mental health. Then, the status of the right to habitat in national and international legislation was reviewed, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the two international covenants, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and others. 

The monitoring report also focused on the narrative of the demolition of houses of indigenous Palestinians based on a mandatory law repealed by “Israel” the occupying authority and the impudence in legitimizing the crime, and on demolition as a war crime and on demolition as a collective punishment internationally criminalized.

The report singled out an area of the literary framework of the alleged American peace plan, the “Deal of the Century” where it breaches the international law, as it is directly responsible for the increasing frequency of violations against Palestinian installations and attempts to legitimize it after the Israeli plans for annexation and the green light that it gave to violating international law and international human rights law and violent imposition of force logic. The monitoring report examined the contradiction between the absence of the legal or political link of the United States with Palestine and the presence of the intervention.

Finally, the Observatory was attached at its conclusion to a detailed table of all violations during the first half of the year 2020 with details of the names of citizens or entities whose rights were violated as a result of the Israeli operations against Palestinian facilities, whether they were demolition, seizure, confiscation, evictions, or notifications.