Home demolition (Archive image)

Israeli occupation forces demolished a house under construction on Sunday in the village of Wad Rahal, south of Bethlehem.

The head of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bethlehem, Hassan Bureijia, told the Wafa News Agency that the Israeli occupation forces demolished a house under construction that was 79 square meters.

The building belonged to Jihad Hussein al-Fagouri.

The Israeli authorities gave as their reason that the house was built “without authorization” — but Israeli authorities have refused to give authorization for Palestinian landowners to construct buildings on their own properties since 1967.

This comes just a week after nearly 200 Palestinians lost their homes in a massive demolition of several buildings, including a nine-story high apartment building, in Wadi al-Hummus near Jerusalem.

According to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, “Since 1967 when the Occupation began in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, nearly 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished – displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of thousands of others.

“Combine this with the 600 Palestinian villages that were demolished when the state of Israel was established (www.zochrot.org) creating 750,000 Palestinian refugees (3/4 of the population), and its ongoing demolition policy within the state of Israel itself, the figure exceeds more than 100,000 Palestinian homes demolished since 1948.

“This is a conservative figure because multiple level homes and apartment blocks count as one unit and it does not include the number of self-demolitions which is a growing phenomenon done because Israel issues a bill for the demolitions which many Palestinians cannot afford to pay.

“The policy of house demolitions uses administration, planning, zoning and the law for overt political purposes: to quietly transfer Palestinians out of the country or, alternatively, to confine them to small enclaves, thereby leaving the land (their land) free for Israeli settlement and annexation.

“Most people think that Palestinians houses are demolished because their inhabitants performed some terrorist acts. This is not the case. In 99% of the cases the residents had absolutely nothing to do with security offenses: they neither committed illegal acts nor were even accused of doing so. (It should be noted, however, that demolishing homes belonging to families of terrorists is a form of collective punishment against innocent people that itself constitutes a war crime.)”