The Israeli Occupation Authorities strike fear into the heart of Palestinians as they threaten to demolish their houses
“The Case of Aqraba Village”

The Israeli Occupation Authorities strike fear into the heart of Palestinians as they threaten to demolish their houses <br> “The Case of Aqraba Village”
On the 4th of January 2010, the Israeli Occupation Authorities delivered military orders to a number of Palestinian families’ in Aqraba village, southeast of Nablus city informing them of their decision to demolish three homes under the pretext that their houses were built without proper building authorization. Later on the 19th of January 2010, the Israeli Occupation Authorities were back to the village and delivered three other military orders to demolish three more houses in the village under the same pretext. The following are the names of homeowners whose houses are threatened of demolition in the village:-
  • Firas Khlil Rabee’
  • Hani Muhammad
  • Zuhair Fahmi Bani Maniya
  • Attiya Fahmi Bani Manniya
  • Zahi Fahmi Bani Maniya
  • Zayd Mahmoud Qasem Bani Maniya. Map 1 demonstrates the location of the threatened houses in the village of Aqraba:

Map  1: Threatened Palestinian houses in Aqraba Village
As shown in map 1, the threatened Palestinian houses are located in area ‘C’, which, according to OSLO II interim agreement, falls under the full Israeli control and therefore it is compulsory for Palestinians to obtain building permits from the Israeli Civil Administration working in that area. Due to the complications imposed by the Israeli Authorities on Palestinians seeking to obtain building licenses for their houses located in Area ‘C’, and due to the lack of possible alternatives, many Palestinians take the risk to build on their lands without a permit to meet their growing living needs.
Areas classified as Areas ‘C’ in the West Bank have been subjected to extensive Israeli campaigns aimed at undermining the Palestinian presence to expand construction activities in settlements and annex more areas of Palestinian lands in Area C.
The Israeli Demolition Policy in Aqraba Village
This is not the first time that Aqraba village has been targeted by the Israeli Occupation Authorities; but on the fifth of March, 2009, residents of Kherbit Al Taweel in Aqraba village were delivered 15 demolition orders that targeted a number of homes, a Mosque, animal pins and agricultural facilities.
Furthermore, on the 21st of April 2009, eight Palestinian families in Lafjam area in Aqraba village were also delivered demolition orders for their houses and were informed to demolish them within 48 hours under the pretext that their location is also in the area classified by the Israelis as ‘Closed Military Area’. In less than 24 hours, the Israeli bulldozers protected by the Israeli Army jeeps rushed to the site and demolished five houses out of the eight without pre-notification. Homeowners weren’t also given any time to salvage any of their properties.
Aqraba Village, location and Population
The village of Aqraba stands on a total land area of 146448 dunums (146.5 km²). It is located about 18 kilometers southeast of Nablus city and is inhabited by more than 9500 people (Aqraba Village Council 2009). Around 82% of its total land area is located within the ‘Closed Military Zone’, which Israel declared so following the 1967 war and prohibited any kind of Palestinian development in that area, which utterly became inaccessible to Palestinian farmers, grazers and landowners.
Aqraba Village under Oslo Accord
The Oslo II Interim Agreement signed in September 1995 between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, concluded Israel withdrawal from more areas of the West Bank and that occupied territory be divided into Areas “A”, “B” and “C”, which are designated as varying levels of control. Accordingly, the Israeli Army withdrew from lands classified as areas “A”, and the Palestinian National Authority assumed complete control. This marked the first time that a Palestinian Government retained sovereignty over any Palestinian land. In area B, the Palestinians have full control over civil matters but Israel continues to have overriding responsibility for security. In area C, Israel retains full control over land, security, people and natural resources. This jagged distribution of areas “A”, “B”, “C”, has scattered the Occupied Palestinian Territory and turned it into isolated cantons, which are physically separated from each other.
In the case of Aqraba, 14435 dunums (9.9% of the village’s total area) were classified as Area “B”, while the remaining area of the village, 131913 dunums (90.1%) of Aqraba village lands, was classified as Area “C”. While the majority of the Palestinian population of Aqraba village live in Areas “B”, the bulk of agricultural lands, open spaces and mountains which constitute a major source of income for Palestinians living in the village remain in Area “C” where the Israeli Army still enjoy full control and administrative jurisdiction over the land.
To Conclude:
The right to adequate housing is an essential human right, and necessary to the fulfillment of a decent life. It is founded and recognized under in­ternational law such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25 (1) which states that ‘ (1) 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.
The right to adequate Housing has also been mentioned in other major international human rights laws, such as Article 11 (1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which states that ‘ The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.’
When Israel allows the destruction of houses and properties, it flagrantly breaches international law and Human Rights conventions and denies Palestinians one of their rights that are entitled to them under international law.
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Categories: Military Orders