Yesterday, the Palestinian News and Info Agency reported that Israeli authorities notified Adeeb Dawabsha, deputy mayor of Douma, that two of his homes and a carpentry workshop would be demolished.
Adeeb told the Palestinian News and Info Agency that Israeli authorities claim he built the structures without a permit.
Douma, a village in the West Bank, is defined as Area C by the Oslo Accords – meaning it is under Israeli civil and military control.
Israeli authorities have practically criminalized Palestinian construction in Area C by refusing to administer construction permits to Palestinian residents, despite the fact that Israeli settlements occupying Area C are allowed (and encouraged) to grow.
A humanitarian report issued last week by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) explains, “the vast majority of demolitions occur in Area C.” According to the same report, Israel has demolished 595 Palestinian structures in 2016, a slight increase from 2015.
In this sense, the demolition of Adeeb’s home is another clear example of discriminatory, colonial Israeli planning policies that aim to make life impossible for Palestinians living on their own land.
But, on top of being subject to Israel’s colonial planning system, Adeeb lives in Douma and is a member of the local Dawabsha family.
In July of 2015, Israeli settlers threw a firebomb into a Dawabsha family home in Douma. The attack killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha and his two parents, Riham and Saad. Ali’s four-year-old brother, Ahmad is the only survivor of the attack.
The Dawabsha family’s attorney, Omar Khamaise, pointed out to the Middle East Eye that, if the settlers were Palestinians, “the homes of the attackers would have been demolished.”
Here, Khamaise reminds us of yet another aspect of Israeli house demolition policy that applies to Palestinians alone: punitive house demolitions. Essentially, from Israel’s perspective, Palestinians who allegedly attack Israeli soldiers or civilians deserve to lose their homes, while Israelis guilty of the same crime do not.
Israel employed house demolitions as a punitive measure against Palestinians since 1967, but generally stopped from 2005 until the summer of 2014, as the Israeli military committee concluded that the efficacy of the house demolition policy as a counter-terrorism tool was questionable and possibly illegal. But, since the summer of 2014, Israel has revamped its use of punitive house demolitions without explanation.
Hamoked, an Israeli human rights organization, reported that, from 2014 to June 1st of 2016, Israel punitively demolished or sealed 30 Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.
Only under a system of illegal colonial occupation can Adeeb and Douma village face such demolitions, while two conspicuous others do not: the settlers who carried out an arson attack and killed Ali, Riham and Saad Dawabsheh.
More at the Alternative Information Center.