IDF Destroys 22 Bedouin Structures in West Bank, Leaving 79 Homeless

Demolition orders issued seven years ago but not implemented because the Civil Administration apparently understood it could not destroy structures when there was no reasonable alternative for relocating the residents.

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A Bedouin encampment slated for destruction in Area C. In recent years Israel has expedited its demolition activities.
A Bedouin encampment slated for destruction in Area C. In recent years Israel has expedited its demolition activities.Credit: Alex Levac

The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria on Monday destroyed 22 huts and animal pens in Bedouin communities near Ma’aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, leaving 79 people, including 49 children, homeless and their flocks without shelter in the searing heat.

According to United Nations data, this is the largest number of West Bank Palestinians to lose their homes in one day since October 31, 2012.

The four communities involved were A-Sa’idi, near the town of A-Zaim, west of Ma’aleh Adumim, and three others to the north of Ma’aleh Adumim: Bir el-Maskub, Wadi Sneysel and Abu Falah, all in the area of Khan al-Ahmar. A total of 400 people live in these communities.

Attorney Shlomo Lecker, who is representing the families at Bir al-Maskub, said the demolitions were carried out even though objections to them were submitted in May to Etti Sofer, coordinator of the Civil Administration’s inspections subcommittee.

Lecker said that in contrast to the usual procedures, he never received any response to these objections.

The attorney had written that the demolition orders were issued seven years ago but were never implemented because the Civil Administration apparently understood that it could not destroy structures when there was no reasonable alternative for relocating the residents.

Lecker said he cannot recall an instance in which the authorities carried out demolition orders without responding to the objections and to a request for a delay to allow for legal proceedings.

Israel does not include the Bedouin communities in its master plans for Area C, the areas under total Israeli control, which is why Bedouin residents are forced to build huts and other temporary structures without permits from the Civil Administration. In recent years Israel has expedited its demolition activities, along with efforts to concentrate all Bedouin communities in permanent towns.

A plan to build a Bedouin town called Nueimah, north of Jericho, generated many objections from residents, who complained that the authorities were not consulting with them. As a result, in March, the coordinator of government activity in the territories and the head of the Civil Administration appointed Brig. Gen. (res.) Dov Tzadka as their liaison to the Bedouin, regarding planned evacuations and resettlement. Tzadka is a former head of the Civil Administration and a member of the Council for Peace and Security.

One of the persistent demands of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on settlement is to demolish all the Bedouin communities in Area C, in general, and near Ma’aleh Adumim in particular, to allow for expansion of Jewish settlements in that area.

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