TWO WEEKS AGO WE WROTE ABOUT THE THREAT OF IMMINENT DEMOLITION FACING THE BEDOUIN COMMUNITY LIVING IN EIN AR RASHASH IN SOUTH NABLUS AND CALLED FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY TO PREVENT FORCED DISPLACEMENT OF 112 RESIDENTS. TODAY WE REPORT ON DEMOLITIONS AND THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL’S DISCRIMINATORY PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION POLICIES IN AREA C.
ISRAELI BULLDOZERS ARRIVED IN EIN AR RASHASH ON THE 15TH OF FEBRUARY 2016 AND DEMOLISHED OVER 50 RESIDENTIAL TENTS AND LIVELIHOOD STRUCTURES. A TOTAL OF EIGHT HOUSEHOLDS COMPRISING 59 PEOPLE WERE DISPLACED, AMONG WHICH were 38 CHILDREN; AN ADDITIONAL NUMBER OF FOUR HOUSEHOLDS WERE aFFECTED COMPRISING OF 35 PEOPLE, 22 WERE CHILDREN.
THIS PHOTO ESSAY SHOWS IMAGES CAPTURED BY EAS WHO WITNESSED THE INCIDENT.
EAs were alerted to the demolitions at 9:00am. On arrival, EAs observed two bulldozers and about twenty Israeli soldiers working alongside hired labours to raze the humble dwellings of the residents of Ein ar Rashash. The residents stood by and watched. At around 11.20 the soldiers stopped the demolitions and left. Then children and adults alike began sorting through the rubble of their former homes. The demolitions, which were carried out on the grounds of lack of building permits, left half the community without even basic provisions of food and shelter in the mid-winter cold.
On January 28th, the Israeli Military Court ruled that the entire village of Ein ar Rashash would be demolished unless the community evacuated the area. The Court gave the community until 6am on the first of February to comply with these orders or risk complete demolition. The residents didn’t leave. “I have nowhere else to go”- said Ali Z, 39 year old father and resident of Ein Ar Rashash “If my home is demolished the sky will be my blanket and the earth my bed. I must stay”.
Notably, Ein ar Rashar is listed among the 46 Bedouin and herding communities in the central West Bank who are at risk of forcible transfer due to the “relocation” plan being advanced by the Government of Israel. All of the Palestinian Bedouin communities slated for transfer are located in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel maintains full civil and military control.
This demolition is the latest in a series of mass demolitions that have been carried out by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank since the start of 2016. According to OCHA “Over 400 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes – equivalent to over half the total number of Palestinians displaced in all of 2015.” In response to this ‘new wave of demolitions‘ the Humanitarian Coordinator, Robert Piper, pointed out that the Israeli zoning and planning policy in the West Bank is restrictive and discriminatory.
“Most of the demolitions in the West Bank take place on the spurious legal grounds that Palestinians do not possess building permits,” said Mr. Piper, “but, in Area C, official Israeli figures indicate only 1.5 per cent of Palestinian permit applications are approved in any case. So what legal options are left for a law-abiding Palestinian?”
As the occupying power, Israel is bound by International Humanitarian Law to protect the Palestinian civilian population. The Hague and the 4th Geneva Conventions clearly state that the occupier cannot destroy or seize property on territory it is occupying, except if it is “imperatively demanded by the necessities of war”, which is clearly not the case in Ein ar Rashash. The demolition of this village would constitute a violation of Article 23 of The Hague Convention and Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Only a massive outcry of public concern offers the possibility of keeping them in their homes. Please take action today to halt any further demolitions in Ein ar Rashash and the forced displacement of its 112 residents.
- Contact your elected representatives and your foreign minister and ask to raise this issue with the Government of Israel to express [ Countries] condemnation of the plan to demolish the village of Ein ar Rashash and the forced displacement of its residents.
- Help raise awareness about this communities plight and update media agencies in your countries about the Government of Israelis plans to forcibly transfer thousands of Palestinian Bedouins out of their communities in the central part of the occupied West Bank.
- Ask your country’s diplomatic representatives to urge the Government of Israel to immediately stop demolishing Palestinian structures and legitimize unlicensed structures in area C.
OCHA fact sheet : Bedouin Communities at Risk of Forcible Transfer, September 2014