Rights group: Israel high court complicit in displacing 6,000 Palestinians

A rights group condemned the Israeli Supreme Court in a new report Wednesday, saying it’s allowed thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank to become homeless by killing much-needed housing on the contested land.

A billboard advertises new Jewish housing in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa, located in the West Bank between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, on January 3, 2017. Photo by Debbie Hill
A billboard advertises new Jewish housing in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa, located in the West Bank between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, on January 3, 2017. Photo by Debbie Hill

The group, B’Tselem, said the court has let stand Israeli policies to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank while wrecking Palestinian homes and leaving more than 6,000 inhabitants with nowhere to go.
“Israel has stepped up its attempts to bypass — or even cancel — legal proceedings regarding the demolition of Palestinian structures,” B’Tselem wrote in its report, titled “Fake Justice.”

“Israel’s willingness to forgo appearances attests mostly to the state’s confidence that it will not be called to bear significant domestic or international consequences for breaking the law,” it added.
For example, the group said, officials have refused to connect electricity and sewer systems, pave roads or approve permits for new homes in the West Bank’s Khan al-Ahmar area — efforts it said are intended to displace Palestinians there.

“As a result, the residents live in appalling conditions,” B’Tselem wrote.

B’Tselem said it compiled the report after reviewing hundreds of Supreme Court cases, judgments and decisions connected with Palestinian home demolition in the West Bank. It said more than 6,000 Palestinians were displaced between 2006 and 2018 after 1,401 homes were destroyed.
“The fact that the judges choose, time and again, to approve and validate Israel’s policy, played a pivotal role in further cementing the occupation and the settlement enterprise and in dispossessing Palestinians of their land,” report author Yael Stein told Al Jazeera.

The analysis said the demolitions violated Israel’s own planning policies, and B’Tselem suggested the moves may constitute war crime violations because international law bars the forcible transfer of residents unless “the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.”

Right-wing politicians and activists have argued the Palestinian Authority and European Union have attempted to take over land in the West Bank so Israel can’t include the territory in its final borders.

ByClyde Hughes