Israeli military notifications to halt constructions in houses in Harmala Village, southeast of Bethlehem

Israeli military notifications to halt constructions in houses in Harmala Village, southeast of Bethlehem

On February 15, 2007, the Israeli Occupation Army handed out two Palestinian residents in Harmala village military notifications to halt construction of a Barracks and a Plastic house they own under the pretext of being unlicensed. The notifications hold number 140803 and 140804.


The Barracks is owned by Mr. Kamel Khalil Az Zeer and is constructed on 400 m² land. Mr. Kamel uses the barracks as a poultry farm, which constituted the major source of income to his family. The other notification targets a 500 m² plastic house, owned by Mr. Ali Ahmad Az Zeer and is used for agricultural purposes. The plastic house constitutes the major source of income to Ali’s family. See Map

According to the Oslo II Agreement and land classification, Harmala village lands were classified with area C definition, where Israel retains full control over the village; hence, Israel declared the targets of the Army’s notification unlicensed and illegal. However, under international law, the occupation is not entitled to demolish any structure of the people under occupation unless the demolishing is justifiable by military and security reasons beyond any doubt.


Overview of Harmala

Harmallah is a small Palestinian village located southeast of Bethlehem city. It is one of the six Palestinian villages that constitute Janata village’s cluster (Harmala- Al Asakira- Abu Njeim- Beit Falouh-Al Furdeis and Rakhma). In 1996, the Ministry of Local Government in the Palestinian National Authority allied the six villages in one municipality called Janata, in order to facilitate the provision of services and planning for these villages.


The village is bordered by Al Asakira village from the north, Abu Njeim and Al Ma'sara from the west, Khallet Al Haddad from the southwest and Teqou Settlement from the southeast.

The village is a home to 757 inhabitants according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of statistics (PCBS 2006), where the built up area makes 217 dunums.


Harmala is as many other Palestinian villages in the West Bank located within area “C”, which suffers the consequences of land classification, where the residents may not utilize any of their lands in these areas without having proper authorization from the Israeli Army, this cover building, agriculture or any other use of land, a typical example of which, the case of Mr. Kamel’s Barracks and Mr. Ali’s plastic house, they are under threat of demolition threat at any moment, especially that issuing a license to any sort of structure in such areas (C) is virtually impossible.


Legal and International Status

Since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory back in 1967, the consecutive Israeli governments adopted methodical and systematic policy to undermine the sustainability of the Palestinian existence on their own land, inflicting all sorts of impediments on development, which included house demolishing, razing lands, destroying agriculture, depriving of basic rights, imprisonment and much more.


Under Forth Geneva Convention, Israel is prohibited from destroying Palestinian property or employing collective punishment .Article 53 reads: 'Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons or to the State, or to the public authorities, or to social or corporative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.


Article 147 of the same Convention also stipulates that: 'extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly' is a grave breach of the Convention.


Also in the year 2004, the United Nation Security Council Resolution No. 1544-(2004), called on Israel to stop demolition of the Palestinian houses. The resolution provides that: 'The Security Council called on Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, particularly the obligation not to undertake home demolitions contrary to that law'.





 Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Military Orders