andreas hagenbach on Thu, 31 Dec 1998 20:03:34 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> J2K IPO

> plans public offering in spring '99

Does it include also an end of the dirty politics in the holy land?



30 December 1998

On 28 December 1998, two homes were demolished by the Israeli
authorities in Kifal Harith, a Palestinian village in the West Bank,
very close to the Israeli settlement of Ariel. Early that  morning,
two bulldozers escorted by about 100 Israeli soldiers and officials in
jeeps of the army, police and Civil Administration arrived at the
village. The two homes demolished were inhabited by families with
children, who had been living there for years and have now been left
without shelter. The reasons given for the demolitions were that no
building permits had been obtained.

One of the homes belonged to 43-year-old Mahmoud Abd Al-Qadir Shakur,
who several years ago had added two rooms to his old house after
borrowing money from relatives. His 34-year-old wife had been living
with six children aged between two and fifteen in this part of the
house during the past ten years. Following the demolition order, which
was issued one and a half years ago, M. Shakur had sought to obtain a
building permit from the competent authorities, but to no avail. He
had then appealed against the refusal of a building permit but the
Israeli High Court of Justice rejected his appeal.

The owner of the second house was 27-year-old Husam Mohammad Sulaiman
Abu Yacoub, who had been living there with his wife, their three small
children and his elderly father since the house was built in 1994. The
house consisted of two rooms and their facilities and covered an area
of 84 square meters. On 15 January 1998, Abu Yacoub was informed by
the Israeli authorities of the demolition order. He subsequently
appealed against the order but apparently the appeal was rejected.
However, Abu Yacoub's lawyer claims that he was not informed about the
outcome of the appeal.

After the home of M. Shakur was demolished, neighbors attended the
house of Abu Yacoub to support the family. When they refused to leave,
the army threw tear gas grenades to force Abu Yacoub, his family and
the neighbors out of the house. Several family members fainted from
the gas, which especially affected Abu Yacoub's small children Amjad
(18 months) and Ahmad (3 years). An ambulance had to be called to
provide medical assistance. The soldiers are also reported to have
beaten family members and neighbors with their rifle butts, injuring
Abu Yacoub on his head. Abu Yacoub's brother Shaban was reportedly
taken to an unknown place.

The Israeli authorities justified the house demolitions in Kifal
Harith with the lack of a building licence. However, the fact of the
matter is that building permits are rarely issued by the Israeli
authorities to Palestinians living in the West Bank including East
Jerusalem. There is an application fee which is prohibitively
expensive for many Palestinians, and waiting periods can last up to a
year. These conditions are applied only to Palestinians, and out of
necessity, force many families to build without permission from the
authorities. In contrast, building permits can easily be obtained by
settlers in the Occupied Territories, and homes built without permits
in Jewish settlements are in most cases retroactively legalized.

In fact, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
(ICAHD), much of the Ariel settlement is built on land expropriated
from Kifal Harith and the nearby village Salfit. While M. Shakur and
Abu Yacoub had their homes demolished in Kifal Harith three days ago,
another 1000 acres of Salfit land was expropriated last week for the
expansion of the Ariel settlement.

House demolitions thus appear to be part of a systematic plan to
consolidate Israeli control in certain areas of the Occupied
Territories. Housing to be destroyed has been targeted along the
Jordan valley, the Green Line, near Jewish settlements and military
installations and around Jerusalem. The purpose is to limit the
natural growth of Palestinian communities and the Palestinian presence
in the West Bank including East Jerusalem in view of the final status

LAW is alarmed at the ongoing house demolitions throughout the West
Bank including East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of the Oslo
accords, which were supposed to foster peace and reconciliation, there
has been a marked increase in the demolition of Palestinian homes, and
there are no indications whatsoever that Israel intends to put an end
to this practice.

LAW urges the international community to put pressure on Israel to
respect human rights and to stop demolishing the homes of

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and
the Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to
preserving human rights through legal advocacy LAW is affiliate to the
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Fidiration
Internationale des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)

LAW - the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights
and the Environment
PO Box 20873
Jerusalem, via Israel
Tel: (972) (2) 5812364/5824559
Fax: (972) (2) 5811072
web site:
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