Accelerated House Demolition Campaign in Hebron District

Accelerated House Demolition Campaign in Hebron District


Since 1967, most of the Palestinian communities have been subjected to a continuous wave of aggression by the Israeli occupying authority. On 19 August 1998, the Israeli authorities demolished eight houses in and around Hebron in Baq'a and Samu' Palestinian neighborhoods. As a result, more than 40 family members are now homeless.

'Atta Jaber's house which is located in the Baq'a Valley in Eastern Hebron, close to the Qiryat Arba' and Kharsina colonies was bulldozed by Israeli military forces (Figure 1). Before the house was demolished, the family was expelled and neighbors were also beaten. Most of the furniture was still inside when the house was flattened into rubble (Figure 2).). Before the house was demolished, the family was expelled and neighbors were also beaten. Most of the furniture was still inside when the house was flattened into rubble ().

Figure 1: Atta's house after the demolition

Figure 2: The furniture belonging to the house can be seen in the debris

The eight demolished houses are located in Area C. According to the Oslo Agreement, the West Bank has been divided into three main areas: A, B, and C (Figure 3) )

  • Area A: represents 2.6% of the total area of the West Bank in which the Palestinian Authority has full control.
  • Area B, in which the Palestinian Authority has partial control, limited to civilian affairs such as education and health, while security issues are under the sole control of Israel.
  • Area C, in which the Palestinian Authority provides civil services. However, Israel retains full control over land, security, people and natural resources.


Figure 3: Division of the West Bank according to Oslo Accords

The partition of the West Bank placed many Palestinian houses in area C where they became open targets to the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign. 'Atta' s house was a target of such an atrocious action, and is one among 20 houses that have received demolition orders.

Although the Jaber family has deeds proving their ownership of the land dating back to the Ottoman Empire, the Israeli authorities have denied them permits to build on their own land in the Baq'a valley. The Israeli army has threatened for years to demolish their house which consists of three rooms. In order to expand the Israeli colonies of Qiryat Arba' and Kharsina, the Israeli military has recently confiscated tracts of vineyards, orchards and vegetable farms in the Baq'a valley

On Thursday, August 20 1998, the Jaber family decided to rebuild a two-room structure with no bathroom just north of their demolished home in order to at least give the family some shelter. Fourty Palestinians came to help rebuild the home with the help of the Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT).

On 16th September, 1998, at 9:30 a.m., the Israeli military destroyed the home of 'Atta Jaber for the second time. This was done in spite of the fact that the new house couldn't legally be destroyed unless a new demolition order has been issued because it was built on a different site than the previous house. The demolition came only 27 days after the razing of Jaber's previous home. Meanwhile, on September 5th 1998, 2.5 acres of fruit and olive trees were also uprooted on the Jaber family's land.

On 19th August 1998, the Israeli authorities demolished a further seven houses in south Samu' in Hebron District which were also located in area C (Figure 4).).

Figure 4: Location of the demolished houses



Figure 5: The debris of the demolished homes in Samu'


The demolition is intended to provide space for the expanding nearby colonies which were constructed on the Palestinian own lands.

Figure 6: A one- person colony on top of the hill with all needed utilities


Israeli Colonies near Samu' in Hebron District:

Israeli Colony

Number of People

Founding Date

Population Type

Beit Yattir




















One wonders where the afflicted are going to sleep, how they will cope with their children, where they will get the money to rebuild…?!!(Figure 8))

Figure 7: The destitution of family members as a result of the demolition

Under the pretext that permission had not been granted, the Israeli authorities continue carrying out campaigns of demolition of Palestinian homes. The houses have been built by their owners on their own land. Applications for getting permission have been revoked by Israeli officials in spite of the numerous efforts to obtain licenses with all supporting documents.

Over the last 31 years of occupation, this pretext of building without a permit has been used by Israel to turn down indigenous Palestinians eligibility for permission to build while at the same time supporting the expansion of Jewish colonies in the Occupied Territories. One of the main reasons which lies behind such house demolition campaigns in and around Hebron is because of Israeli's plans for by-pass roads ( in the case of 'Atta Jaber, his house comes across the Israeli by-pass road number 60) that on the one hand connects Jewish colonies together, and on the other hand serve as boundaries that disintegrate Palestinian communities from one another. This also creates buntustans with access to each other only via Israeli controlled territories, destroying the geographical contiguity of the future independent State of Palestine. 




Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem


Categories: Demolition