91% of eviction orders issued by Israel were against Palestinians, report reveals

Palestinians try to prevent the Israeli army demolishing a Palestinian two-storey building in Ramallah (Wisam Hashlamoun - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  June 2, 2020

Over 90 per cent of land eviction orders issued by Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank between 2005 and 2018 were issued to Palestinians, a report published yesterday by rights groups revealed.

The report, entitled “National Calamity” (Makat Medina), which looks into 670 evacuation orders, was released by Israeli NGO’s Haqel and Kerem Navot.

The civil administration originally refused to release the data and did so only in response to two court petitions, according to Haaretz.

It reveals that 609 of eviction orders – 91 per cent – were handed to Palestinians, while only 57 – 8.5 per cent – were issued to Israeli settlers.

Moreover, the data, which spans from 2005 through 2018, also shows that Israel evacuated people from more land in the Jordan Valley than any other region.

“When you examine the locations of the eviction notices, you see a strong correlation between territory Israel has for many years devoted great efforts to annex and the numbers of orders, as well as their sizes,” said Dror Etkes, founder of Kerem Navot.

The Jordan Valley is considered some of the most fertile agricultural land, providing produce for the Palestinian population.

Palestinians believe such measures are part of Israel’s Judaisation of the area, which include emptying it of its Palestinian residents.

Eviction orders are mostly issued on agricultural land, or land being prepared for construction, but some of the orders were also related to built-up areas.

Another area heavily targeted with eviction orders was around the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, where hundreds of Jewish settlers live illegally in the heart of the city, protected by 1,500 Israeli soldiers, even as the city’s 200,000 Palestinian Arabs have to navigate around army checkpoints.

The ancient city, home to the Ibrahimi Mosque, is also included by right-wing lawmakers among areas over which they refuse to ever cease control. The local Palestinians resisted attempts by illegal settlers planted in the city after the 1967 war to control the mosque.

The civil administration didn’t respond to Haaretz’s questions regarding the reasons for the spike in orders issued during these years.

This week, which marked the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, was no different, as IOF attacks continued; additionally, settlers shot and wounded Palestinian farmers, set lands ablaze and attacked houses,” the rights NGO stated.

As noted by PCHR, Israeli forces unlawfully killed five Palestinian civilians, including a child who posing no imminent threat to life, using live ammunition during Israeli military raids into Ramallah and Tubas.

Moreover, Israel continued to expand illegal settlements and related infrastructure in the occupied West Bank, including the dismantling of a caravan and demolition of a house still under-construction in the central Jordan Valley, because it did not have the necessary permit from the Israeli occupation authorities.

Such permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain. It said three Palestinians were forced to demolish their homes themselves.

The extensive demolitions, PCHR stated, also included using bulldozers at the Sebastia archaeological site and stealing ancient stones from the surrounding area.

There are now some 650,000 Jewish settlers living on occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem. All of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population onto occupied land.