The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria demolished the small Palestinian Beduin village of Makhol in the Jordan Valley early Monday morning.
According to the non-governmental group B’Tselem, 10 compounds of tents and temporary structures that housed both families and livestock, such as sheep and goats, were torn down, leaving over 100 people homeless.
The Civil Administration said in response that the “the structures at hand were illegal.
They had been built without a building permit, and were removed after the High Court of Justice denied a petition that was filed in order to prevent their removal, in a decision dated August 28.”
The village’s attorney, Tawfiq Jabareen, said he had fought to preserve the village ever since demolition orders were first issued in 2009.
On its behalf, he appealed to the High Court of Justice, which granted the Palestinians time to seek building permits from the Civil Administration.
However, the administration denied their requests, and the High Court rejected a subsequent petition by Jabareen.
In his petition to the court, the attorney said the military law authorizing Palestinian housing would have to be changed before his clients could obtain permits.
He argued that under international law, Israel was obligated to protect Palestinian rights to their property, and under humanitarian law, it was prohibited from tearing down the homes.
The property is located in a section of the West Bank’s Area C, which Israel is expected to hand over to the Palestinian Authority in the future, Jabareen said.
But in its August decision, the High Court rejected his petition because his clients had failed to provide the necessary documentation to prove ownership of the property.
Jabareen told The Jerusalem Post that each time his clients had gone to the Civil Administration, the body had failed to recognize the validity of the documents they provided, or had requested additional ones.
The same court, he said, has allowed illegal outposts to remain standing, including those built on private Palestinian property with state support, but his clients are now homeless.
“Now they have only God to protect them,” he said.
According to B’Tselem, from January to August of this year, the IDF has demolished 142 Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley.
The organization’s spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said the demolitions were a human rights violation under international law, which she said Israel has attempted to reframe either as an issue regarding closed military zones or as an enforcement issue regarding building regulations.