19 May 1997

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment PO Box 20873 Jerusalem Tel: (972) (2) 5812364/5824559 Fax: (972) (2) 5811072 email:

Israeli Defense Ministry officials stated on 18 May that 500 more Palestinian homes have been targeted for demolition in the West Bank. All the targeted homes are in the still occupied 73% of the West Bank (Areas A), and are located near settler by-pass roads, Jewish settlements, or Israeli military installations.

In the beginning of this year, the military administration of the West Bank made a similar announcement, which said that over 700 homes had been targeted for demolition. 72 homes have been demolished since that time, and over 170 have been demolished since the election of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in May 1996.

The Israeli policy of house demolition can be seen as the final necessary step in order to consolidate Israeli control over Jerusalem and the West Bank before the final status negotiations, to cleanse areas of the West Bank of a Palestinian presence in order to negotiate over "empty" land near the settlements and by-pass roads. In fact, the pattern of house demolition shows that many houses are demolished in the same place at once, as was the case on 5 May, when five homes were demolished in the same region in the Hebron area. These homes are not demolished for having no permit, as the official orders state, but because of their location near Jewish installations.

Besides the humanitarian catastrophe of the destruction of homes and the resulting homelessness, its cynical use as a political tool to prejudice and predetermine the outcome of the "peace negotiations" reveals a total departure from the understandings and assurances of the Oslo agreements. LAW once again calls on the international community to voice its condemnation at this critical time, and demand an immediate halt to the house demolition policy before this ethnic cleansing has been completed. Write to your government representatives, your Israeli ambassador and to your local media condemning the ongoing policy of house demolition. In addition, fax your letters of condemnation to Prime Minister Netanyahu (972) (2) 566 4838, and to Defense Minister Y. Mordechai (972) (3) 691 6940.

demolish.htm LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organization, dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is also an affiliate member of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights.