army has alarmingly intensified its policy of demolishing houses and leveling
land during the al-Aqsa intifada which broke out in September 2000. Hundreds of
houses have been demolished, rendering hundreds of families homeless. In the
Gaza strip, Rafah refugee camp along the Israeli controlled border to
Egypt has been particularly hard hit. Whole neighbourhoods have been demolished by Israeli
bulldozers, often without previous warning to allow residents to save some of
their properties from destruction. Palestinians living close to settlements have
suffered the same fate. Many houses have been destroyed and large areas of
agricultural land have been leveled or expropriated in order for the Israel to
create buffer zones or build bypass roads allowing the settlers – living
illegally in the area – to travel freely between the settlements and Israel.
Rafah refugee camp has been particular hard hit by house demolitions
Photo: PCHR fieldworker
the massive destruction of private houses and fields, a large number of
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) buildings and offices have been totally or
partially demolished in attacks by F16 fighters and Apache helicopters. PNA security facilities have been
targets of such military action; only one police station in
Gaza City remains partly useable.
during and after the Israeli Operation Defensive Shield in April this year
vandalism committed by the Israeli occupation army was common. Offices have
been turned upside down for no apparent reason; money, computers and other
assets were stolen.
expropriation and destruction of land and private property is a war crime under
the Fourth Geneva Convention. Furthermore, the UN Committee
Against Torture has found that the Israeli government's house demolition policy
"may, in certain instances, amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment" in violation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has put together a
collection of links on the subject "Destruction of Land and Private Property" in
order to make it easier for the users of our web site to get an adequate
impression of the Israeli destruction policy.
Relevant Articles in International Humanitarian Law
Fact Sheet: Housing and Agriculture
Reports, Press Releases and Interventions
Feature Stories from the International Media