The Demolition of Housing Structures in the Village of Imneizel

The Demolition of Housing Structures in the Village of Imneizel

Israeli occupation forces demolished a number of housing structures and caves in the areas of Al Deirat, Qawaies and Imneizel located southeast of the town of Yatta. The demolitions took place on Wednesday March 19th, 2008. The area located southeast of Yatta is the most targeted area by the forces and authorities of the Israeli occupation. Waves of land confiscations have started in the early 1980's in  the afore-mentioned areas as well as in the hamlets of Susiya, Qinan Jaber, Ma'ein, Al Karmel and Umm Lasafa, among other locations. The confiscations were coupled with feverish colonial activities; atop the confiscated lands Israeli authorities established the colonies of Suesiya, Beit Yattir, Ma'on, Al Karmel and Peni Hever. The creation of these colonies meant the encirclement of Yatta from the east and the south in addition to completing the ring around it as the colonies of Haggai (located north of Yatta), Otna'eil (located west of Yatta) and Shima' (located southwest of Yatta) were already present and choking the town. In order to ensure the suffocation of Yatta, Road 60 completed the town's isolation from the western direction while Road 317 was constructed to isolate it from the southern and eastern directions.

It is a well-known fact that the town of Yatta (with all of its associated villages, khirbets and Massafer) is considered the third largest Palestinian rural community; the area of its lands is around 330 km2. However, the intense confiscation campaign carried by the Israeli occupation forces has left Yatta with only half of its original area in addition to being surrounded from all directions. There is only one entry point into the Yatta 'enclave'. It is located at the entrance of Al Fawwar refugee camp where a permanent Israeli checkpoint is present. Around 80,000 Palestinian (residents of Yatta and Al As Samu' and their associated hamlets) cross through Al Fawwar on daily basis.     


The demolition campaign that was carried out on March 19th, 2008 is an attempt to vacate the Palestinian population from areas located in the vicinity of the Israeli colonies as a prelude to use the land for further colonial expansion. It is considered to be part of an organized ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the Israeli occupation throughout of Palestine, of which Yatta is part. 

Demolition Case Number (1)

Israeli occupation forces demolished two rooms belonging to Mr. Mohammad Khalil Abu Qbeita (49 years old) in the village of Imnezeil near the colony of Beit Yattir. The area of the two rooms is 140 m2. Occupation forces have submitted a number of 'Stop Work' as well as 'Demolition' orders to Mr. Abu Qbeita who, in turn, hired a private lawyer to defend the structures. Nevertheless, Israeli occupation forces demolished the two rooms under the pretexts of building without a permit. That was done despite the fact that the Abu Qbeita family built the rooms on its private land which it inherited generations upon generations with a registered Tabu. Moreover, the family has been living on the land before the Israeli occupation of 1967 and, of course, before the establishment of the colony of Beit Yattir that borders it. Groups of colonists, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, have constantly harassed the family and prevented its members from plowing and working their 300-dunum olive-filled lands.      


Photo 1: The debris of the two rooms owned by Mr. Mohammad Abu Qbeita





According to Mr. Abu Qbeita, he has been the victim of a number of aggravations from two officers in the Israeli so-called 'Civil Administration'. One of the officers is called Hamouda while the other one is called Ze'ev Shapira. He has filed 22 official complaints against them in the Israeli Police in Kiryat Arba, yet to no avail. Moreover, as his house is located beyond the checkpoint of Beit Yattir, Israeli soldiers manning it rarely grant him passage through the checkpoint.


A History of Violations

Since the year 1982, violations carried out by Beit Yattir colonists on Mr. Abu Qbeita and his relatives are non-stop; about 10 dunums of his lands have been taken over by force. A number of his relatives' sheep were run over by colonists' cars. Colonists have repeatedly kicked him and his relatives out of their land while plowing or herding. Examples are plenty including the establishment of 10 colonial units on the lands of Abu Qbeita.


In 1998 Mr. Abu Qbeita won the case he presented to the Israeli High Court. The Court's verdict was that the land is Abu Qbeita's and, as such, the colonists must remove the housing units established atop of it. However, the decision is yet to be executed.     


In 2002, Israeli bulldozers demolished a 125-m2 agricultural brux in which Abu Qbeita used to house his sheep. Moreover, in 2006 Israeli occupation forces demolished another $30,000 house for the Abu Qbeita family along with a water cistern.  


As days went by, the colony became larger and larger and more modernized. While, at the same time, Mr. Mohammad and his three brothers and uncle live in brick houses roofed by zinco. These houses, according to Mr. Abu Qbeita, do not provide adequate shelter neither from the summer heat nor from the winter rain. It is worth noting that Mr. Abu Qbeita have made the strategic decision to place the four houses belonging to him and his relatives in a straight line, each tens of meters apart as to function as a barrier to  impeded any further expansion of the colony.


Photo 2: The debris of the rooms of Mr. Mohammad Khalil Abu Qbeita.
Note the contrast with the ever-enlarging colony of Beit Yattir in the back.


 Despite all of these harassments, and due to the need for a suitable housing to live in dignity, Mr. Abu Qbeita started in 2007 to re-construct his demolished house. However, Israeli occupation forces were quick to reduce it to rubble on March 19th, 2008. 


Abu Qbeita and Family After the Wall

The construction of the Israeli Racist Isolation Wall in the vicinity of Abu Qbeita resulted in the annexation of the colony of Beit Yattir, in addition to the four Abu Qbeita houses, into Israel. This has meant that the Abu Qbeita houses are currently located behind the Wall. The houses can only be accessed through a manned checkpoint. Mr. Abu Qbeita explained to LRC's field worker his daily agony: 'The houses of the colony surround us from three directions and they are only ten meters away from my house. When I try to go to Yatta through the checkpoint, I usually get stopped and delayed. Sometimes I would be obliged to go through valleys and by-pass roads in the mountains. As such, what usually took me only a few minutes to get to in the other side of the checkpoint, now is taking me a couple of hours.'


As for Isma'eel, the son of Mr. Abu Qbeita who is a student in the 10th grade, he told LRC's field worker how he reaches his school in Yatta from his house near the colony. He said the following: ' We (myself, my brothers and cousins) leave our houses at 6:00 AM each morning to go to the gate on the hopes that the soldiers would let us through. While meters away, the soldiers order us to stop and raise our hands up in the air. They, then, would call us one by one and inspect and search our school bags. They have prevented us from reaching our schools on a number of occasions. They would search our bags again on our way back to our homes. Such harassments have pushed my sisters and my female cousins to quit school.'   




Prepared by:
The Land Research Center





Categories: Demolition