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Nablus-area residents to protest home demolition orders

This coming Thursday (20/08/09) the families and friends of those affected by the demolition orders detailed below, will hold a protest outside the courts in Beit El. They will be joined by residents of nearby villages and international solidarity activists. The rally will start between 9 and 10am outside the court.

House demolition orders in Yetma:

In the village Yetma south of Nablus in the West Bank, around 17 houses was given demolition orders from the Israeli Government, issued the 27th of July 2009. All houses were built after the Oslo process, and are located in the only part of the village that is considered to be area C according to the Accords. By the Israeli government, therefor, these houses are considered as having been built without a permit. This is their official reason for issuing the orders. However, the area is located no further than aproximetely 2 km from the border of the Israeli settlement Rahel. Neither the Palestinian Authority nor the Israeli Government will give the house owners licenses saying that they own the land on which the houses are built.

The 6th of August, however, after having issued an official complaint about the demolition orders, 3 of the houses had their court case. The decision became that the legal process would be postponed until the 13th of August when a new court case will be held.

According to the demolition orders issued to 9 of the other houses, the final date on which the Israeli Government can come to evict the houses is dated the 20th of August. The house owners of these houses too, made an official complaint about the decision, but their court case will be held as late 9 o clock the 20th of August, which makes it possible for Israel to fulfill the evictions before the legal procedure takes place.

The Red Crescent will provide the families with food and tents after the demolitions.

Demolition orders for 13 houses in Dahia village east of Nablus

The village of Dahia is a very quiet area, in the mountains east of Nablus. Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, the area has belonged to the city of Kafr Qalil.

During the Oslo agreement, the land was classified under Area C, land that falls under full Israeli administrative control. Dahia has over 200 houses and new homes are under current construction. These are located near the top of the mountain where there is a fence preventing people to enter a military road which leads to a military observation point. From this point the military can overlook the whole area with its various villages and also Balata Camp. During the second Intifada the military also used to shoot people from there in Balata Camp. On the other side of the fence there is a village with Arabic Jews who live there for many years who have good relations to the people from Dahia. But to reach them you have to travel a long way round.

Most of the families moving to Dahia are people from Balata Camp who try to fulfill their dream of a secure home outside the camp. The money to build those palaces (in comparison to the conditions under which they have to live in Balata Camp) they moostly borrowed from friends, their family and the bank. Mostly it’s about the money you earn when you work 40 years. Now thirteen of the families got house demolishing orders which they received on the 21st of July. The court case will take place on the 13th of August. The houses are randomly chosen by the Israeli army. They consider them to be a security risk. Some of the houses are located close to the fence some are far away, not even built – others are directly next to the fence and can stay for the moment.

Again the conflict is as in several areas: People legally bought the land and even received deeds of ownerships for it from the responsible government (here: Kafr Qalil) which refer to the deeds from the Ottoman Empire. Afterwards they got the building license and water and energy supply.

Now as already mentioned they are considered to be a security risk. In the area of Dahia only three houses got a building license also from the Israeli government.

The inhabitants are afraid that if the 13 cases will be lost in front of the judge other house demolishing orders will follow.

Since some time there exists the order to build a road which shall connect the settlements of Alfei Menashe and Kamei Shomron. It’s going to be 10 km long with a buffer zone of 300 meters on each side and will cost around 180 000 000 NIS. This will change the usual root for people from Azzun on their way to Nablus. Because it will be a settlers’ only road Palestinian will have to make a detour via Jayyus.

Activists expect the plans for this road to be the reason why that many owners get demolishing orders for their houses. In 1993 2500 Dunums of Izbat at Tabib got the order to be confiscated in order to be replaced by an industrial area. This decision was postponed in 2001. Nowadays half of the 45 houses of the village have demolishing orders and settlers accompanied by IOF show up in the village and stay there for some hours. Strangely people from another village where they got house demolishing orders additional to this got the order to move to Izbat al Tabib against what the inhabitants of Izbat al Tabib got to say: They shall move to Azzun where new possibilities of housing are promised to them.