Halt of Construction warnings to citizens of Beit Jala city

Halt of Construction warnings to citizens of Beit Jala city

On December 3, 2008, employees of the Israeli Civil Administration in Bethlehem Governorate handed over four Palestinian citizens in Beit Jala city new military orders to halt construction at their structures. The Israeli pretext was that Palestinian citizens were building without valid building permits due to their location in Area 'C'.


The Cases:-

Citizen Makram Al 'Arja, owner of the Everest Hotel in Beit Jala, afamily-run hotel, located on the highest hill in Beit Jala city, overlooking Jerusalem, and Bethlehem Governorates, was given an order to stop the building of eight additional rooms to the hotel he owns. The order was given to him under the pretext that these eight rooms are being built without valid building permit from the Israeli Civil Administration in Bethlehem Governorate.


Citizen Khaled Lolas, living in Al Seder area in Beit Jala city, also received another military order informing him to stop the construction of his 35 meters square barracks situated in front of his house. Mr. Lolas started building the barracks a month ago, as an extension to his business and increase his livelihood income.  


The IOF also gave Al Ihsan Society of the Greek Orthodox church in Beit Jala city a military order to stop the restoration and maintenance work of the society building.


The fourth military order was given to citizen Raed Zreneh to stop renovation work at an old house located in close proximity of his own house located in Al Seder area. See Map  1





According to OSLO II Interim agreement of the year 1995, the Occupied Palestinian territory was divided into areas 'A', 'B' and 'C'. In Area A, The Palestinian National Authority holds all responsibilities for internal security and Public order; in area B, Palestinians have full control over the civil administration and Israel continues to have overriding responsibility for security; while in Area C, Israel retains full control over security and administration related to the territory which constitutes 61% from the total West Bank area.


The Palestinian residents of the communities located in Area C are suffering from the absence of planning schemes to meet their housing needs, lack of building permits to build on their own land, and the refusal of the Israeli Civil Administration to grant them building permits; they are always under the threat of halt of construction and later demolition for building without permit or for just being there in an area declared by they Israeli Army as “closed military area.”


Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clears that: '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 absolutely necessary by military operations.'


The appropriation and destruction of Palestinian land is an especially serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 147 of which clearly prohibits, ''extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.’’ Violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention Articles; constitutes grave breaches of the Convention and should accordingly be prosecuted as War Crimes.



Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem


Categories: Military Orders