Israel Resumes “House Destruction” Policy in Al Walajeh Village Northwest of Bethlehem City

Israel Resumes “House Destruction” Policy in Al Walajeh Village Northwest of Bethlehem City

Location and Population

Al Walajeh, a small Palestinian village located about 4 kilometers to the northwest of Bethlehem city and 8.5 km to the southwest of the city of Jerusalem. The village houses a population of approximately 1,695 residents (PCBS 2006), and bordered by Battir and Husan villages from the southwest, by Sharafat village and Gilo settlement (established in 1971) from the east and by Har Gilo settlement (established in 1972) from the southeast, and the rest of the village is loop by the Israeli bypass road 60.


Its is worth mentioning that Al Walajeh Before the 1948 war, was spread over an area of 17.793 km2 and its boundaries extended westwards beyond the Armistice Line (the Green Line), and after the 1948 war, the village lost 75% of its lands and came to spread over a total land of 4.403 km2 (24.8 % of its original area). For more clarification refer to a previously written case study, (Israeli house demolition campaigns continue against residents of Al Walajeh Village. 21 June 2006).


Decades under Occupation

During the last 4 decades of Israeli occupation, Al Walajeh village witnessed loss of its lands for the new and “Illegal Jerusalem Municipality boundaries”, and today it is threatened to lose more and more lands for the construction of the Apartheid Segregation Wall set to encompass more of its lands, causing much harm to the residents’ houses that became object for demolish in favor of the Segregation Wall.  


In the year 1985, the Jerusalem Municipality issued dozens of orders to demolish  houses in Al Walajeh, particularly in Ain Juwaiza neighborhood under the pretext of building without license and violating the Israeli building codes. The orders were carried out randomly, selectively against those who were issued to and are still being issued to the residents to this day.


The Incident

The Israeli occupation forces, and for the second time demolished the house owned by the resident Munther Mahmud Abdel Kader Hamad, from Al Walajeh village, under the pretext of “Security Needs”.


This is not the first time Munther’s house has been demolished. In 31/1/2006, almost a year ago, the Israeli occupation Army demolished the house under the pretext of security purposes to build the Segregation Wall. When the owner of the demolished house, Mr. Munther rebuild his house again, he received a notice,  warning him that he built his house without permit, and therefore his house is under demolishing order, that was when he petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to stop the demolishing order, but the court refused the petition and in December 12/2006, the Israeli bulldozers demolished Munther’s house once again. See Map 1 & Map 2 below


Map 1: Location of demolished houses in Al Walajeh Village


Map 2: The Israeli Segregation Plan in Al Walajeh Village


In an Interview with ARIJ field staff, Mr. Munther stated that he invested NIS 50,000 (USD 12,000) to rebuild his 120 square meters house for the second time and the now Israel did not only bankrupt him but also turned him along with his other 5 family member into refugees. (See photos Below)





The Demolished House of Munther Hamad


Ambiguous Future

In light of the Israeli plans against Al Walajeh village, the latter stand to have no future, in fact the residents are being manipulated and squeezed by the Israeli state to voluntarily leave their village with the devised and imposed strict building policy and now by the Segregation Wall.


The Israeli systematic attack against Al Walajeh village and its residents have been a non-stop procedure. In February 2006, the Israeli authorities issued the military order # (T/25/06), to confiscate 40 dunums from the village lands, at the main and only entrance for the village at its eastern side to construct a terminal identified by the Israeli Army as “Har Gilo Terminal” to control movement of residents from Al Walajeh toward Palestinian controlled areas.  ), to confiscate dunums from the village lands, at the main and only entrance for the village at its eastern side to construct a terminal identified by the Israeli Army as “” to control movement of residents from Al Walajeh toward Palestinian controlled areas.  


Moreover, in 2004, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem announced plans to construct a new settlement called “Giv’at Yael” on nearly 5000 Dunums of lands confiscated from surrounding Palestinian towns; 2000 Dunums of which to be confiscated from Al Walajeh. According to the Israeli plans, the settlement will have some 14,000 housing units to accommodate some 55,000 Israeli settlers.


Giv’at Yael settlement will physically complete the ring of settlements that separate Jerusalem from Bethlehem and consequently from the West Bank’s southern territory and encircle Bethlehem starting at Har Homa; east of Bethlehem to Gilo north of Bethlehem then to Har Gilo, west of Bethlehem where the link is completed with the planned Giv'at Yael before the ring  continues to 'Gush Etzion' bloc in the southwestern part of Bethlehem Governorate.


To Conclude

The terminal plan  and the Israeli Segregation Wall, will complete the circle around Al Walajeh village from its northern, eastern and western sides and will restrict access from and to the village. Accordingly, the Palestinian residents of Al Walajeh will become prisoners and refugees in there homeland.


The successive Israeli violations and plans against Al Walajeh, will eventually have disastrous consequences on the residents of Al Walajeh economically and humanly, and deprive them from their legitimate rights to live and move freely in their own land.


The Israeli Policy of house demolition flagrantly violates all international laws and human rights conventions, which only allows the demolition of houses when necessary for military purposes.


The following articles drawn from international law and human rights convention are constantly violated by Israel during the past four decades of their continuous occupation of the Palestinian territory:


  • Article 2 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads that: 'Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.'

  • Article 3 states that 'everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person'.

  • Article 13 states also that: Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.'

  • Article 25 states that: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

In addition, the Israeli practices violate:

  • Hague Convention IV (18 October 1907): Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land: Article (23): 'To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;'

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, ARTICLE 53: Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered necessary by military operations.





Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem


Categories: Demolition