The E1 territory, located outside of Jerusalem and within the jurisdiction of the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Civil Administration early Monday morning demolished eight illegal Palestinian Beduin shacks located near the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement.
The structures were built on state land without any of the necessary permits to build in that area, the Civil Administration said. It added that it razed the structures after issuing demolition orders against them.
But the NGO B’Tselem charged that the Civil Administration demolished 17 shacks and tents in three herding communities located outside of Jerusalem. Fourteen families lived in those structures, B’Tselem said, and added that those people are now homeless and have no shelter from the harsh sun.
But NGO Regavim, which monitors illegal Palestinian construction, said none of the structures that was razed had housed families.
The demolitions occurred less than a week after a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee sub-committee on Judea and Samaria had urged the Civil Administration to do more to combat illegal Palestinian construction, particularly in the area just outside of Jerusalem, where Ma’aleh Adumim is located.
The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), is working on a plan to relocate some of the Palestinian Beduin in the area of Ma’aleh Adumim, to a newly created community just outside the Palestinian city of Jericho.
At the meeting, the chairman of the FADC subgroup on Judea and Samaria MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) warned that Palestinians were deliberately putting up illegal structures to prevent the expansion of Ma’aleh Adumim in the direction of Jerusalem.
Yogev and MK Bezalel Smotrich, also from Bayit Yehudi, charged that the Civil Administration took a harsher stance against unauthorized Israeli construction than illegal Palestinian building in Area C.
COGAT Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that just the opposite was true. The Civil Administration, he said, takes down more illegal Palestinian structures than Jewish ones.
Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said he saw Monday’s demolitions as a sign that the IDF and the government was taking the issue more seriously than it has in the past.
“We have been freezing [settler] construction while allowing the Palestinians to build,” Kashriel said. “The Palestinians are trespassing and slowly taking control of our territory.”
But Regavim’s director of international relations Ari Briggs said the IDF was playing a numbers game, because comparing its demolition of temporary Palestinian structures that would be replaced the next day, with the razing of permanent settler homes.
He charged that the IDF had deliberately held off from taking down EU-funded modular structures in those communities.
According to B’Tselem, the Civil Administration took down four temporary structures in the a-Sa’idi community near a-Za’ayem, which made up more than half of that community of six families. The four structures that were demolished housed four families. In total, it said, 32 people, of which 11 were adults and 21 were minors, lived in those communities.
The Civil Administration than entered the abu-Falah community, in the Khan al-Ahmar area, B’Tselem said. It razed a residential shack of timber and plastic sheeting that a family had built for its two older children. A demolition order against the shack had initially been issued in October 2014, it added.
According to B’Tselem, the Civil Administration on Monday also took down 12 structures in the adjacent Bir-al-Maksub and Wadi Shneisel Palestinian Beduin communities. Nine of the structures housed 60 people, of which 39 are minors. It added that three of the structures that were taken down were used to house the communities herds.
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