Israel + 1 more

OPT: The PCHR stops the razing of the al-Masri family's agricultural land

News and Press Release
Originally published
Ref: 13/2003
The PCHR managed to stop the razing of the agricultural land of the al-Masri family, submitting an appeal to the Israeli High Court and obtaining a precautionary order.

On 22 January 2003, the PCHR was able to stop the razing of the agricultural land owned by a Palestinian resident of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. As soon as it was informed that Israeli occupying forces would raze a tract of agricultural land owned by Darwish Suleiman 'Atiya al-Masri, the PCHR appealed before the Israeli High Court to stop razing the land, and in response, the Israeli High Court issued a precautionary order to stop razing the land, pending a final decision.

According to PCHR's investigation, on Sunday evening, 19 January 2003, Israeli occupying forces started razing an 81-donum area of agricultural land on part 7 of tract number 33 west of the "Morag" settlement in Rafah. The owner informed the PCHR that Israeli occupying forces started razing his land without prior warning. He learnt from residents of the area that the Israeli forces had started razing his land on 19 January 2003. He added that when he went to his land in the following morning, he saw Israeli military bulldozers razing the land.

In addition to this, the Israeli High Court issued a precautionary order to stop the demolition of the house of Younis 'Awadhallah Abu Khousa, from Beit Lahia, in response to an appeal submitted by PCHR on 19 January 2003 on behalf of the owner.

Israeli forces started demolishing the house although an appeal was submitted to the Israeli military legal advisor and another appeal was submitted to the Israeli High Court, without waiting for the ruling of the court. So, the Israeli forces are supposed to stop the demolition according to the ruling of the Israeli High Court. However, it is impossible to be certain of their intention as the area where the house is located has been under a strict siege. The PCHR issued a press release on 20 January 2003, in which it described the demolition of parts of the house.

The PCHR is deeply concerned about the demolition of Palestinian houses by Israeli occupying forces in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention which obligates Israel to protect Palestinian civilians and property. PCHR asserts that the rulings of the Israeli High Court do not provide guarantees for Palestinian civilians or protect their property, since Israeli occupying forces repeatedly violated such rulings and carried whatever illegal actions they wanted against Palestinian civilian property. PCHR will continue its efforts to provide protection for Palestinian civilians and property.