Rights group: 44 Palestinians displaced by Israeli demolitions of illegal homes

Forty-four Palestinians — including 22 children — were rendered homeless yesterday in a wave of demolitions of illegally built homes across the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, the B’Tselem rights group charges.

Homes were demolished in Luban al-Sharqiya, a small village outside of Ramallah; Fasa’il, in the Jordan Valley; and Khillet al-Daba, in the South Hebron Hills.

The Israeli Civil Administration is responsible for authorizing planning and construction in 60% of the West Bank, known as Area C. The Civil Administration often demolishes homes which it says are built without permits. Palestinians argue that Israeli authorities rarely grant them construction permits and that they thus have no choice but to build illegally.

Israeli forces also demolished two kilometers of water infrastructure in the area of Musaffer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills. The state contends that the residents’ presence in the area is illegal, as the army has declared the area a military firing zone. Musaffer Yatta residents have argued in court that the area was declared a firing zone in order to expel them rather than for training purposes.

Aaron Boxerman