Palestinians home razings near security barrier may be delayed

On Thursday, IDF soldiers arrived in the village to examine the buildings, sparking residents’ fear that bulldozers could arrive the next morning.

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July 18, 2019 21:58
2 minute read.
Palestinians home razings near security barrier may be delayed

One of the 18 Wadi Hummus buildings slated for demolition. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Palestinians may have received at least a four-day reprieve with respect to the pending IDF demolition of eighteen buildings located just outside Jerusalem near Israel’s security barrier.

At issue is the close proximity of the buildings to the security barrier – less that 400 meters – as it winds its way through the village of Sur Baher, in a neighborhood called Wadi al-Hummus.

The High Court of Justice last month said the demolitions could legally take place as early as Friday.

On Thursday, IDF soldiers arrived in the village to examine the buildings, sparking residents’ fear that bulldozers could arrive the next morning.

Wadi al-Hummus Committee attorney Ghiath Nasser on Wednesday turned to the High Court seeking a temporary injunction against razing the homes.

On Thursday night the court asked the state to respond to the request by July 23. No injunction was given, but Nasser told The Jerusalem Post that in light of the court’s request its unlikely that the IDF would move against the homes until after the court rules on the injunction.

Earlier this month the High Court accepted an appeal by Nasser on the initial June ruling, giving the state until mid-August to respond. But it had not issued an injunction to stop the demolition of the homes in the interim. Now Nasser is arguing that any action should wait until the court hears his appeal.

Nasser’s appeal is based on a 2004 agreement between the village and the IDF, done within the context of a High Court ruling on the route of the barrier. The IDF can no longer claim that there is a security issue with a route that it itself agreed to.

The buildings slated for demolition were built after 2004, and are scattered along the route of the barrier on lots that are interspersed among already existing structures.

Nasser and the Palestinian Authority worry that the 18 Wadi Hummus buildings to be demolished are the start of what could be the demolition of over 200 pre-existing buildings located near the barrier.

The bulk of the village is within the boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality. But property in the back end, where the security barrier is, belongs to Areas A, B and C of the West Bank.

The homes slated for demolition are on the Israeli side of Sur Baher, even though the land, on which the buildings are situated, is technically considered to be part of Areas A and B. This means that the homes are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

Village residents on the Israeli side of the barrier, who hold Jerusalem residency and/or Israeli citizenship, obtained permits for the buildings from Bethlehem.

Israel, however, holds that the structures in question – all of which were built after 2014 – are illegal because a 2011 IDF edict forbade the construction of buildings within 400 meters of the barrier. Wadi al-Hummus residents didn’t know about the edict when they began to build.
   
   
   


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