HaMoked to the military: retract your intention to demolish seven homes in the West Bank המוקד להגנת הפרט
18.10.2015
HaMoked to the military: retract your intention to demolish seven homes in the West Bank
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In the last few days, HaMoked filed eleven objections against the military’s orders for the punitive demolition of seven homes of West Bank Palestinians, who either perpetrated or are suspected of perpetrating attacks in recent months. Six objections were filed on behalf of their families; four on behalf of the neighbors living near the apartments in question; and one on behalf of both the family and the neighbors.

In the objection against the intended demolition of an apartment in Nablus, located in a four-storey building (with one apartment on each floor), HaMoked noted that the wording of the Arabic version of the order did not match that of Hebrew: the Arabic version stated that the ground floor was designated for demolition, whereas the Hebrew stated that the military intended to demolish the first and second floors. HaMoked asserted that a contradiction over such a crucial matter, should cause the military to revoke the demolition notice entirely.

Another, related objection was filed on behalf of the neighbors living in buildings close to the building in question, located in a crowded residential neighborhood in Nablus. The objection concerns 65 people, including at least 20 children, who live in five buildings managed by a cooperative housing society of government employees, which is also party to the objection. Dozens of people might suffer damage to their apartments and property as a result of the planned demolition or, in the worst case, remain without a roof over their heads. HaMoked asserted that contrary to the stated in the demolition order – the suspected assailant did not live in the apartment destined for demolition, and that this alone was enough to cause the order’s cancelation.

In another case, the military issued a demolition order against the family home in the Qalandia Refugee Camp of the suspect in the attack at the Dolev Settlement of June 19, 2015. Although by early July the security forces knew about the youth’s involvement in the attack, the demolition order was issued only three and a half months later. HaMoked argued in the objection that the delay “points to extreme unreasonableness in deciding the time for employing the Regulation [no. 119]”. HaMoked also recalled that in the HCJ’s judgment, issued a few days earlier on HaMoked‘s petitions against a punitive demolition in Hebron, the justices ruled that the state must announce its intention to demolish the house “at the nearest possible date to the criminal incident in question”.

In all of its objections, HaMoked reasserted that house demolition is a cruel and irreversible measure, the efficacy of which is questionable – as Justice Vogelman had commented in the minority opinion in the abovementioned judgment, and as the erstwhile Minister of Defense had acknowledged back then, which led him to stop the use of punitive demolition in the West Bank. Moreover, not only is there is no evidence that punitive demolition serves its professed goal – i.e., deterring potential assailants – using such measures while harming innocent people, intensifies feelings of hostility and frustration among the Palestinian population, and nourishes the ongoing cycle of violence.
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