Citing “Firing Zone 918” as a pretext to demolish Palestinian homes and structures in the occupied West Bank
“The case of the southern Hebron Hills”

Citing “Firing Zone 918” as a pretext to demolish Palestinian homes and structures in the occupied West Bank <br> 

“The case of the southern Hebron Hills”


In the early morning of February 2nd 2016, the Israeli occupation army and bulldozers raided a number of Palestinian communities in the southern Hebron hills (Masafer Yatta) and demolished residential homes, animal shelters, toilets and confiscated solar panels installed by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem ARIJ in 2015, under the pretext of being located in an area designated by Israel as “Firing Zone 918”. The targeted communities were identified as: Kherbit Janbaa, Kherbit Al Fakheit And Kherbit Al Halawah. More than 20 Palestinian families were affected by the Demolition process. See Table 1 for more details:

Table 1: Affected Palestinians and damage in the southern Hebron Hills
1 Locality Name Name of affected owner  Area of Demolished Structure (sqm) Additions
2 Janba Mahmoud Ahmd Dies Ahmad 30 Toilet
3 Janba Bilal Ahmad Issa Ahmad 30  
4 Janba Miriam Shehada Muhammad Ahmad 30  
5 Janba Waseem Issa Ahmd Muhammad 30  
6 Janba Musa Ibrahim Muhammad Younis  30 Solar Panel
7 Janba Maher Ahmad Issa Muhammad 50 Solar Panel and a toilet
8 Janba Issa Younis Muhammad Abu Arram 30 A toilet
9 Janba Ali Muhmmad Mahmoud Al Jabarin 70  
10 Janba Muhammad Ali Muhammad Al Jabareen 30  
11 Janba Nabeel Hussein mahmoud Al Jabareen 65 Solar Panel and a toilet  
12 Janba Wajeeha Rashed MahmoudJabareen 30  
13 Janba Muhammad Jibril Musa Rib’i 60 A toilet
14 Al Halaweh Khalil Younis Mahmoud Abu Arram 30 Solar Panel
15 Al Halaweh Hani Khalil Younis Abu Arram 30  
16 Al Halaweh Ali Muhammad Ali Abu Arram 30 Solar Panel
17 Al Halaweh Hasan Ali Muhamad Abu Arram 30  
18 Al Halaweh JIBRIL Ahmad Ismail Abu Arram 30  
19 Al Halaweh Ahmad Ismail Abu Arram 30  
20 Al Halaweh Jameel Younis Mahmoud Abu Arram 30  
21 Al Halaweh Isamel Muhammad Ali Abu Arram 30  
22 Al Fakheit Sameer Muhammad Hasan Hamadah Tent (40)  
Masafer Yatta village Council, 2016


The three targeted communities in the southern Hebron Hills[1] are among eight others in the area that are threatened of demolition and evacuation under the same pretext[2]”; In July 2012, the ex- Israeli “defense minister”, Ehud Barack, ordered to evacuate eight out of twelve Palestinian communities located in the southern Hebron Hills, with around 1,000 residents, and make way for an “Israeli Firing Zone” named “Firing Zone 918”. The threatened communities are identified as: Asfai, Al-Fakheit, Al-Halaweh, Al-Kharuba, At-Tabban, Al-Majaz, Al-Mirjaz and Jinba villages.  See Map 1

Map 1: The affected Palestinian communities in the southern hebron Hills (Jinba, Al Fakheit and Al Halawah)

The Israeli decision to evacuate the aforementioned Palestinian communities comes with regard to previously issued military orders, namely military order number 271 which was issued in 1968 and designates the southern Hebron hills area along with other areas in the occupied West Bank as “Firing or combat Zones”; and the Israeli military order number 378 which was issued in 1970 and declares the area as “Closed Military Zone” to prohibit Palestinian building and development in the area. For more information about “Firing Zones” in the occupied West Bank, click here: Ecstasy vs. Siesta: Israel Ecstatic vs. International Community Siesta & the Two-State Solution RIP

Improving the living conditions of vulnerable households in the southern Hebron Hills

Jinba community, one of the aforementioned targeted communities, along with other communities in the southern Hebron Hills (Jinba, Al Majaz, Ar Ratheem, Birin, and Khirbet Al Rahawa) benefited from a project funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA), subcontracted by the Danish Church Aid and implemented by the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ) in 2015. The project focused on improving the living conditions of vulnerable households and herders in the southern part of Hebron in order to enhance their micro dairy production quantitatively and qualitatively through providing them with solar energy for lightening their houses and improving their livestock activities and building the capacity of the project beneficiaries through providing them with workshops on livestock management, and health in addition to dairy processing and hygiene. The project targeted 143 vulnerable households in Area C distributed over the five communities.

To sum up:-

Israel guaranteed its confiscation of the Palestinian land by force following its occupation of the Palestinian territory in 1967 and came up with various illegal laws, orders and pretexts to do so, most notably the confiscation under the pretext of “state land", and the confiscation under the pretext of “abandoned property and uncultivated land"; and confiscation under the pretext of “military training areas (combat zones)” and confiscation under the pretext of "closed areas"; this is in addition to expropriation for “public purposes” as well as confiscation by the Absentee Property Law, and confiscation under the pretext of "Nature Reserves."

Israel is forcing bitter facts on the ground and is destroying any possibility of fruitful negotiations to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Israel’s settlement program is strictly forbidden by the various International Laws and Conventions, some of which are listed below,

  • The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Article 49, and paragraph 6 of which states: &#39;The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.&#39;  Article 53 of the Convention also prohibits &#39;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.&#39; 
  • The Hague Regulations of 1907, Article 23 of which prohibits the destruction or seizure of occupied property, unless it is imperatively demanded by military necessity.   
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) which requires Israeli armed forces to withdraw from &#39;the territories occupied&#39; in the 1967 war, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 
  •  United Nations Security Council Resolution 452 (1979) which calls upon &#39;the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.&#39;  
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 465 (1980) which &#39;Determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure of status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel&#39;s policy and practices of setting parts of its population and new Immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

[1] The area designated by the IDF as “Firing Zone 918” is located in the South Hebron Hills near the town of Yatta. Spread over 30,000 dunums and home to approximately 1,300 people. Tthe area is comprised of 12 Palestinian communities, they are:Tuba, Mufaqara, Sfai, Majaz, Tabban, Fakheit, Megheir Al-Abeid, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba, Khallet Al-Dab’a and Sarura. Eight of these villages, with around 1,000 residents, currently face demolition and eviction.


Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Demolition