RAMALLAH: A Palestinian judicial body has accused Israeli military authorities of taking the unilateral decision to empty portions of Area C in the West Bank by demolishing buildings and agricultural facilities of Palestinian communities without notice.
The Jerusalem Legal Aid Center has accused the Israel Civil Administration, the executive branch of the Israel Defense Forces and the Organization’s Supreme Council of serving Israel’s alleged occupation plans to empty Area C.
The center said it was surprised to receive a succinct response from the Israeli authorities, who said that “the submission of a detailed plan does not freeze or prevent the implementation of the demolition decision in the construction files”.
According to the center, presenting a detailed plan is a procedure that has been followed for years and that it is necessary to exhaust the legal procedures in place before going to the administrative court and obtaining an interim demolition order.
Over the past few years, the center’s lawyers have filed hundreds of detailed plans in the cases they track, most of which have not yet had a court date set.
Abdullah Hammad, director of the center’s local advocacy department, told Arab News: “These Israeli measures put around 700 buildings and agricultural facilities in Area C at risk of being demolished at any time without waiting for appeal decisions from the Israeli courts.
Hammad explained that this policy prevents Palestinians from investing in Area C due to the lack of protection against demolitions, and makes it impossible to obtain building permits from the administration.
He further clarified that those who have invested in the region live in a constant state of anxiety.
According to Hammad, many structures threatened with demolition were built with European help.
He pointed out that since the beginning of this year until the end of June, 500 structures have been demolished in Area C, affecting the lives of 150,000 Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the center, in coordination with the legal department of the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission and other partners, is conducting intensive consultations to identify legal interventions in response to the actions of the Israeli authorities.
Palestinian sources confirmed to Arab News that successive Israeli governments have consistently banned Palestinians from building in Area C while allowing Israeli settlement expansion at the expense of Palestinian land and water sources.
Meanwhile, sources said Israel had allowed settlers to fly drones over Area C to monitor the activities of its residents.
The center adopts various means, the most important of which is to apply to the Israeli courts.
Yet the center’s advocates believe the Israeli occupation’s justice system is unfair and seek to legalize the demolitions.
According to records from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel demolished 1,673 facilities and displaced 3,382 people in Area C in 2021.
From 2009 to August 2022, Israel destroyed 8,665 settlements and displaced 12,771 people in the same area.