- The present report is the fourteenth quarterly report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016). The reporting period is from 21 March to 4 June 2020.
II. Settlement activities
In resolution 2334 (2016), the Security Council reaffirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constituted a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. In the same resolution, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in that regard. No such steps were taken during the reporting period.
On 26 May, the Jerusalem District Planning Committee approved a master plan for the expansion of the Har Homa settlement in occupied East Jerusalem by up to 2,200 housing units. If implemented, this expansion and the planned construction of 3,000 housing units in the Givat Hamatos settlement – tenders for 1,000 of which were announced in February – would further consolidate the ring of settlements along the southern perimeter of Jerusalem, separating the Palestinian areas of the city from Bethlehem and the southern West Bank. No other plans were advanced and no tenders were announced in Area C during the reporting period.
Earlier in May, the Israeli authorities approved the seizure of municipal planning authority at the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs from the Palestinian Municipality in Hebron. The Israeli authorities justified the decision as necessary in order to make the site accessible to those with disabilities, while stating that the project “will not change prayer arrangements or the status quo.” The expropriation order was issued on 12 May, allowing 60 days for objections. The Palestinian leadership, the Hebron Municipality, the Waqf and the Islamic authorities, among others, have condemned this move, arguing that it violates the 1997 Protocol concerning the Redeployment in Hebron.
During the reporting period, demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures continued across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and some indications from the Israeli authorities of a temporary freeze on the demolition of inhabited buildings due to the pandemic. Citing the absence of Israeli-issued building permits, which remain almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 132 structures, resulting in the displacement of 86 Palestinians, including 47 children and 42 women, with 700 others also adversely affected. A total of 16 of the structures were demolished or seized on the basis of military order No. 1797, which authorizes an expedited process for structures deemed to be new and gives owners only 96 hours to demonstrate that they possess a valid building permit. A tot al of 27 structures demolished or seized were donor-funded, and 7 of the demolished structures were water-related (cisterns, water tanks, wells). Another 10 structures, primarily in occupied East Jerusalem, were demolished by their respective owners following receipt of demolition orders.
On 22 April, Israeli security forces demolished six structures, three of them inhabited, in illegal outposts near the Yitzhar settlement, which were reportedly linked to frequent incidents of settler violence in the area and clashes between settler extremists and Israeli security forces, including the throwing of three Molotov cocktails at a military vehicle on 26 March.
On 11 May, in Kubar village, close to Ramallah, Israeli forces demolished the home of a Palestinian family as a punitive measure. The house belonged to the family of a Palestinian man charged with participating in the killing of an Israeli girl in August 2019.
A total of 42 structures were demolished during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (24 April to 24 May). This is a significant increase as compared with previous years (13 in 2019; 1 in 2018; 0 in 2017).