1. The present report is the eighteenth quarterly report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016). The reporting period is from 23 March to 11 June.
II. Settlement activities
2. In its 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.
3. On 20 May, the Jerusalem District Planning Committee approved the Har Homa E plan for 540 additional housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. The issuance of building permits for the plan is contingent on several conditions. The plan, if implemented, would serve as another step towards connecting the existing Gilo and Har Homa settlements and create a contiguous built-up area of Israeli settlements along the southern perimeter of East Jerusalem. It would also separate Bethlehem and the southern West Bank from East Jerusalem. In early May, settlers established a new outpost, called Eviatar, south of Nablus. In early June, the Israel Defense Forces issued demolition orders for structures housing some 50 Palestinian families in Eviatar and issued a military order banning further construction at the site and its complete evacuation by 14 June.
4. During the reporting period, demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures continued across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Citing the absence of Israeli-issued building permits, which remain almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, Israeli authorities demolished, seized or forced people to demolish 72 structures, resulting in the displacement of 78 people, including 47 children and some 15 women, and leaving 357 others affected.
5. A total of 53 per cent of the structures were demolished (3) or seized (35) without, or with very short, prior notice on the basis of military regulations allowing the summary requisition of “newly installed” structures defined as “movable” or suspected to be used to commit a criminal offence. Three structures were demolished on the basis of military order No. 1797, which authorizes an expedited process giving owners only 96 hours to demonstrate that they possess a valid building permit. Another six structures were demolished by their owners following receipt of demolition orders. A total of 14 structures demolished or seized were donor-funded.
6. Overall, in occupied East Jerusalem, at least 218 Palestinian households, comprising 970 people, including 424 children, have eviction cases currently pending in Israeli courts. Most of the cases were initiated by Israeli settler organizations and are based on the application of Israeli laws that allow for properties in East Jerusalem that were owned by Jews prior to 1948 to be reclaimed. No similar law allows Palestinians to reclaim their property in Israel.
7. In the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shaykh Jarrah, on 10 February and 2 March, the Jerusalem District Court rejected appeals against cases brought by settler organizations to evict 15 Palestinian families from the neighbourhood, where they had lived for decades. A request for an appeal by the Palestinian families was made to the Supreme Court. Following a request by the Attorney General of Israel, on 9 May, the Court postponed by a month a hearing on the matter. On 25 May, the Supreme Court gave the Attorney General until 8 June to provide a position on the case. On 7 June, the Attorney General announced that he would not intervene in the Supreme Court’s proceedings with respect to the pending eviction of four of the families. The Supreme Court announced that it would schedule a hearing before 20 July on the families’ request for an appeal and issue a ruling accordingly.
8. On 28 May, the Jerusalem District Court postponed until December its decision on an appeal against an eviction order related to two residential buildings, comprising three apartments, in the Batan al-Hawa neighbourhood of Silwan, in East Jerusalem. In its decision, the Court noted that it would wait for the High Court of Justice to issue a decision in similar cases. The Attorney General’s position has also been requested by the High Court of Justice. If the eviction were to proceed, a total of seven Palestinian families, comprising 33 persons, including 19 children, 2 elderly women and 1 man with special needs, would be directly affected. On 10 June, the Jerusalem District Court postponed until 8 July its decision on an appeal against another eviction order related to two residential buildings, comprising three apartments, in Batan al-Hawa. If the eviction were to proceed, a total of three Palestinian families, comprising 20 persons, including 12 children, would be directly affected.