“Even though every passing day brings me closer to the end of my life, I’m very pleased that the day went by without them demolishing my home – this little shed that means we have a roof over our heads.” Quote from Rizqiyeh ‘Abd a-Rahman Bani Fadel, age 62
The Israeli government’s practice of demolishing Palestinian homes and other property has increased dramatically this year. Describing demolitions that took place on October 9, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem explains, “These latest acts are part of a massive demolition campaign waged by Israel since the beginning of 2016. In that time, Israel has demolished 252 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, leaving 1,062 people, including 553 minors, homeless.”
The ongoing destruction and the threat of demolition lead to a constant state of vulnerability for many West Bank Palestinians, as B’Tselem stresses:
The policy adopted by the Israeli authorities vis-à-vis these communities keeps residents from maintaining any semblance of a normal routine, imposes a life of constant uncertainty on local residents, and constitutes harassment per se. Even those individuals whose homes were not demolished live with the constant fear that their homes might soon be demolished and that they will be forced to leave the area they call home. B’Tselem July 27, 2016
Often the stated reason for the demolitions is a lack of proper building permits, but the Israeli authorities rarely grant permits to Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank – the area under Israeli civil and military control. A UN report explains, “Due to discriminatory and unlawful planning processes, it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in the vast majority of Area C and East Jerusalem The systematic destruction of property in this context, along with other factors, contributes to the generation of a coercive environment pressuring residents to leave.”
As residents leave, more land is cleared for the relentless expansion of Israeli settlements. The destruction of homes and other property creates tremendous suffering for Palestinian families and communities and undermines prospects for a just and lasting peace for all.
Contact your senators and representative today and ask them to urge the State Department to firmly appeal to the Israeli government to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and property. Ask them to insist that U.S. military aid be conditioned on Israel’s compliance with U.S. law and policy, including respect for human rights.