Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem recently released a report, examining the rulings of Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) to restrict Palestinian building, and demolish Palestinian homes, while authorizing illegal Israeli Settlements in the occupied West Bank.

One example is the village of Khan Al-Ahmar, 2 kilometres south of the settlement of Kafr Adumim, east of Jerusalem, in the southern West Bank. The justices of Israel’s HCJ concluded that it is “unlawful” for Palestinians to build on the compound, therefore there was “no legal obstacle to demolishing the structures in the community of Khan Al-Ahmar”.

The report states that “Israeli authorities consider the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank as no more than a matter of illegal construction, as if Israel does not have long-term goals in the West Bank”, that “this policy imposes a virtually blanket prohibition on Palestinian construction”.

The report further states Israeli “justices have regarded the Israeli policy as lawful and legitimate, nearly always focusing only on the technical issue of whether the petitioners had building permits”.

“The planning apparatus Israel has instituted in the West Bank serves its policy of promoting and expanding Israeli takeover of land across the West Bank”.

From “January 2000 to mid-2016, Palestinians filed 5,475 applications for building permits. Only 226 (about 4%) were granted”. From the year 2006 through 2018, “Israel demolished 1,401 Palestinian residential units in the West Bank (not including east Jerusalem)”.

“Particularly blatant is the justices’ disregard of the fact that implementation of the Israeli planning policy involves violating the absolute prohibition on forcible transfer”. “Since occupying the West Bank over fifty years ago, Israel has built 250 new settlements – whose very establishment is prohibited under international law”.

“It stands to reason that the judges are well aware, or ought to be, of the judicial foundations they are cementing in their rulings, and the devastating implications of these rulings, including the violation of the IHL (International Humanitarian law) prohibition on forcible transfer. Therefore, they too, – along with the prime minister, senior ministers, the chief of staff and other military officers – bear personal liability for the commission of such crimes”