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In Rare Move, Israel Orders Demolition of Entire West Bank Bedouin Village

Israel has avoided large-scale evacuation of Palestinians in Area C, partly because of the involvement of European and American diplomats

 by Yotam Berger      20 February 2017      Haaretz

The "Tire School" Khan al-Ahmar, east of the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, 2015.
The "Tire School" Khan al-Ahmar, east of the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, 2015. Olivier Fitoussi

In a rare occurrence, the IDF’s Civil Administration in the West Bank on Sunday distributed some 40 demolition orders in a Bedouin village in Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and military control.

A few hundred people live in temporary structures without any infrastructure in the Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, just east of the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. Among the buildings at the site is the “Tire School,” built of worn-out tires, which is used by students from a number of illegal villages in the area.

The structures in the village were built without permits, but the Civil Administration has avoided demolishing them or evacuating the entire village, despite political pressure to do so.

Residents say the issuing of dozens of demolition orders is unprecedented in the area. “All the houses received [demolition] orders,” A’id Khamis Jahalin, a local resident, told Haaretz. “I’m scared. This time is different. Then they gave one [demolition order] or two, but such a blow, it’s something. They gave 42 orders. They gave for everything, there are no structures here in all the area that didn’t receive an order. I spoke with our lawyer, they gave us up to five days [to object], that’s a short time,” said Jahalin.

Israeli authorities confirmed that such a widespread issuance of demolition orders was unprecedented in the area, and this is a declaration of intention in advance of an attempt to evacuate the entire village.

In the past, the Civil Administration has offered residents to move to a permanent location, which the residents say does not meet their needs in terms of Bedouin lifestyle, amount of land and proximity to other Bedouin tribes. The government has avoided any large-scale evacuation of Palestinians in Area C, partly because of the involvement of European and American diplomats.

The Bedouins living in Area C near Ma’aleh Adumim endure harsh conditions and poverty, and the EU has often provided structures in their villages. These buildings have been put up illegally, but the EU makes sure to put a large sticker with the EU flag on all of them. The Civil Administration sometimes removes these structures. The Tire School was built in 2009 by an Italian NGO, and has since become a symbol for the Bedouins in the region.

Last week, the State Prosecutor’s Office informed the High Court of Justice in two cases that the government wanted to postpone the sessions on the demolition of structures in the Bedouin community in the West Bank, in light of the attempts to formulate a new policy on the matter.


Yotam Berger

Haaretz Correspondent


Israeli Settlers Harm Livestock, Intimidate Shepherds in Jordan Valley, Palestinians Say

In latest incident, masked settlers threw stones at a flock, killing a sheep. Attack is said to be a clear escalation of violence against Palestinian shepherds in area, Palestinians say.

by Amira Hass      18 February , 2017    Haaretz

File photo: Sheep in the northern Jordan Valley.File photo: Sheep in the northern Jordan Valley. Tomer Appelbaum

Two Israelis killed a sheep and wounded a goat as they threw stones at a flock belonging to a Palestinian family in the northern Jordan Valley on Friday, according to family members, in what locals are describing as a clear escalation between them and an illegal outpost in the area.

A third sheep was wounded and fled and has not yet returned.

Two members of the Iyoub family were with the grazing flock at 3 P.M. some two kilometers from their residence at the Tel al-Hima camp, family members told the Ta'ayush organization on Saturday morning. They claimed that two Israelis arrived on the scene, one of whom was riding a horse, wearing black and had his face covered.

The masked Israeli allegedly threw rocks at the flock from horseback. According to the family, the Palestinians were verbally abused by the Israelis who used words "that we can't repeat." The stone-thrower referred to himself as Soheil, according to the Palestinians.

Although his face was covered, the Palestinian family says they recognized the stone thrower and know his name. 

In September, a group of Israelis erected an unauthorized outpost on a hill above Tel al-Hima, where Palestinian shepherds have been grazing their flocks for years. Since September, the Israelis in the outpost have been preventing the shepherds from grazing in the area.


The incident on Friday represents an escalation in the situation for the locals. Police, the Israeli army and the Civil Administration in charge of the West Bank are aware of the existence of the unauthorized outpost and attacks against neighboring shepherd families. 

On Saturday, when Ta'ayush visited the area, three Israelis entered the camp, one of them on a horse. The Palestinian family said the recognized two of them, one of whom was the horse rider from Friday's encounter.

Last week, three Israeli settlers in a different area in the northern Jordan Valley demanded that three other Palestinian shepherds stop grazing in the area, despite the fact that they do so regularly.

In this case, the settlers were joined by two Israeli soldiers who handcuffed and detained them in the field for some two hours.

Cows are being raised at the outpost and, according to reports from local Palestinians, as well as Ta'ayush and Machsom Watch, pre-army teenagers who dropped out of yeshivas wander about intimidating the Palestinian shepherds and demanding that they not graze their flocks there.

In the Shiloh Valley, northeast of Ramallah, outpost residents have taken similar actions of violence over the years in order to drive farmers away from their lands. In this manner, Israelis were able to start planting vineyards and orchards in the area.


Amira Hass

Haaretz Correspondent



Israel to Seize West Bank Widow's Inheritance, Claiming It Belongs to the State
A court awarded Raba’a Ali Satal $162,000 in compensation after her Israeli Arab husband was killed in a road accident. The Finance Ministry claims the state is the rightful owner.
Or Kashti Feb 19, 2017 1:52 PM
Raba’a Ali Satal and her husband, Anwar.
Raba’a Ali Satal and her husband, Anwar. N/A
Israel has declared its intention to take away the compensation given to a Palestinian woman whose Israeli Arab husband was killed in a car accident, claiming that her inheritance belongs to the state by virtue of the Custodian of Absentee Property Law.
The law has been used for decades to oversee the assets of Arabs who left or were forced to leave Israel during the 1948 War of Independence.
The office of the custodian of abandoned property in the Finance Ministry determined that Raba’a Ali Satal, from the West Bank city of Qalqilya, was an “absentee” and therefore the state was the owner of the compensation the court had awarded her. The amount, about 600,000 shekels ($162,000), was given to her as a result of the death of her husband, who was killed when a truck ran into him as he was fixing his car by the roadside.
Ali Satal, 30, said: “I learned from my lawyer that the state intended to take away the money the court awarded me. That surprised me and my family very much. It seems to me to be very difficult to understand and unjust.”
Ali Satal said she had been married to her husband, Anwar, who was from Jaffa, for four years. “It was a very happy time. His death was a terrible shock. I hope things work out and I’ll be able to receive the compensation I deserve.”
As part of her compensation insurance claim, adjudicated before the Kfar Sava Magistrate’s Court, a request was submitted to the registrar of inheritances in the Justice Ministry to recognize her as her husband’s heir. In May 2016, the registrar determined that Ali Satal was entitled to half her husband’s estate, and that the other half would be divided among his three daughters from a previous marriage. However, next to Ali Satal’s name in the order, the word “absentee” was written in parentheses.
Ali Satal and her attorney, Pesach Stamler, were not the only ones surprised by the parenthetical note. So was the Kfar Sava court, which asked the registrar of inheritances for clarifications. The registrar turned the matter over to the office of the custodian for absentee property. In June 2016, the head of the custodian’s office, Ronen Baruch, responded that Ali Satal was a “resident of the military government in Judea and Samaria, and thus according to the law she is considered absentee with regard to her portion of the deceased’s estate.” According to Baruch, “any part the abovementioned lady has in the estate, including the compensation in the legal proceedings, is entirely the possession of the custodian for abandoned property.” Baruch added that if Ali Satal wanted to receive the money, she had to submit a “release request,” which would be handed according to procedure.
Stamler, together with Hisham Shabaita of the Tel Aviv University Law Clinic, appealed the custodian’s decision at the Jerusalem District Court. In response, attorney Michal Shalem of the State Prosecutor’s Office wrote that as a resident of the West Bank, Ali Satal was “absentee in relation to the asset, which is within the boundaries of Israel.” According to Shalem, the basis for declaring Ali Satal absentee is a clause in the Custodian of Absentee Property Law stating that an absentee was a person located in “any part of the Land of Israel outside the area of [the State of] Israel.”
Attorney Shabaita wrote in his brief to the court: “According to the state’s interpretation, Ali Satal – and in fact all residents of the territories – do not have rights to assets of any kind originating in Israel, including inheritance and compensation.” Shabaita added that the decision meant that not only would the state deprive Ali Satal of the insurance money the court awarded her, but also of 10,000 shekels the court ordered the truck driver who killed her husband to pay her in criminal proceedings.
Shabaita wrote that such an extensive interpretation of the Custodian of Abandoned Property law had never been applied before, “certainly not with regard to personal compensation awarded by a court in Israel to a resident of the territories.”
Or Kashti
Haaretz Correspondent