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Sep 1, 2007

About House Demolitions in the Occupied Territories

Home demolitions in the Occupied Territories fall into three general categories:

Lack of building permits. The vast majority of home demolitions fall within this category. Until the Oslo Agreements of 1993 all Palestinians in the Occupied Territories had to apply for a building permit from the Israeli ‘Civil Administration’ in order to build or expand a home. Since 1993 Palestinians living in Jerusalem and area ‘C’ continue to fall under Israeli jurisdiction. East Jerusalem Palestinians apply for permits from the Jerusalem Municipality, while those living in area ‘B’ continue to apply to the Civil Administration. Permit applications are very expensive (over $20,000) and are routinely denied.

Clearing Operations. The clearance of houses for military purposes. Often the homes are too close to Israeli ‘security infrastructure’, Jewish roads, or provide cover for Palestinian military operations. Clearing Operations have continued to be conducted in all areas of the West Bank and Gaza, although to a lesser extent in Area ‘A’, and in Gaza since the 2005 withdrawal.

Punitive Demolitions. Homes of families or neighbors of Palestinians caught or suspected of carrying out attacks against Israelis. This collective punishment policy was ended in 2005 after the army issued a report declaring it counter-productive in reducing terror attacks.