The Caterpillar Bulldozers in Motion Israel Demolishes Two Palestinian Houses in Al-Walaja Village

The Caterpillar Bulldozers in Motion Israel Demolishes Two Palestinian Houses in Al-Walaja Village

Israel continues to disregard the international laws as it continues with its violation of humanitarian laws and article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 concerning destruction of property belonging to population under occupation. Israel status as an ''occupying power'' on the lands it occupied following the 1967 war is also a fact beyond any doubt. Even so, Israel continues to violate the international laws, which denies the occupying power any right to move any segments of its population to the lands it occupied. The law also states that any destruction of property by the occupying power must be justified as long as it does not assume permanent standing. Nevertheless, Israel still destroys Palestinian properties and builds settlements to accommodate Jewish immigrants on the lands where the Palestinians worked on.


Israeli Demolition Wave Hits Al-Walaja Village again

On June 21, 2004, at 7:00 Am, the Israeli border police sealed all the entrances of Al-Walaja village northwest of Bethlehem District. Afterward more than 60 police and border police vehicles and some 10 police-force transporters (300+ personnel) entered the village accompanied by city planers personnel from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem in addition to two {D9} Caterpillar bulldozers and advanced toward Ein EL-Jowizeh area. The houses and the residents of that area have been a target of Israeli authorities. The Israeli authorities has planned to evacuate that area from all the Palestinian residents and demolish their houses. Hitherto, Israel demolished some 28 houses belonging to Palestinians living in that area. Today, the area is a target of a private initiative carried-out by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem to build more than 13,500 housing units to accommodate 55,000+ Israeli settlers.


The targeted area (Ein EL-Jowizeh) houses nearly 85 families who are subject to evacuation as their houses are subject to demolition by Israel at any time. When the Israeli forces raided the village on Monday June 21, 2004, the residents of Al-Walaja knew that one of the 70+ houses in Ein EL-Jowizeh area would be demolished; but they did not know which one. The reason that the residents did not know whose house is in line for demolition; is that none of them ever received a demolition notice from any Israeli source. However, all the residents are aware (informally) about the Israeli intentions to demolish all the houses in Ein EL-Jowizeh area.


Recently demolished Palestinian houses:-


1- The house of Nader Mohammad Abu Khiarah

The building consisted of two stores and residence with an area of 170 m2 where Nader intended to live at once he is married. The demolished structure built over a period of 4 years represented Nader's savings over years of work as a construction labor. Nader confirmed that he has not received any notice of any kind regarding his residence, even at the time the Israelis came to demolish his house they did not present him with any court order or any paper to justify the demolition  of his house. See photo 1




2- The house of Dr. Omar Ayoub Radwan 

It had been a week since Dr. Omar hadmoved to his new house inEin EL-Jowizeharea of Al-Walaja village, after he finally completed all the work inside the 2-story residence, which he had spent the last 3 years of his life building. On the day, the demolishing took place (Monday June 21, 2004); Dr. Omar (married with six children) was just about to head to work when he saw a substantial police force estimated at 300 policemen and border police and other civilians identified later-on as planers from the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem; encircling his residence. At that point, one police official instructed Dr. Omar to leave the house along with who ever were inside and take the valuables as well in order for them to demolish the house. Dr. Omar futilely demanded to see any court order or any formal order of any kind to demolish his house, but instead the police threatened Dr. Omar and placed him along with his family under arrest to the time the bulldozers brought the house down to the ground. Dr. Omar now spends his days setting and staring at the remains of his house from a tent provided to him by the representative of the Red Cross.

See Photo 2



What is evident that the Israeli Army had no direct accountability of the demolishing process of the two houses in Al-Walaja, the operation was under the administration of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem, which is why the border police and regular police were present at the site. The area where the demolition took place falls within the responsibility of the occupying power as conceded by the international law and the United Nation Security Council, which consequently denies jurisdiction to any non-military group (i.e.: the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem) from the state of the occupying power to operate in the occupied territories.


Ethnic Cleansing is the term that best describes Israel's practices in Ein EL-Jowizeh area especially when such practices carried out by the occupying power intends to uproot coarsely the original inhabitants of an area in order to settle segments of their own.


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Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem



Categories: Demolition