West Bank demolitions and displacement: An Overview | April 2021

Situation Report
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  • Lull in demolitions following the start of the month of Ramadan.

  • 90 per cent increase in the number of structures targeted in 2021 compared with the equivalent period in 2020.

  • The demolition of an EU-funded school temporarily frozen.

  • Court hearing on the eviction of four extended Palesitnian families in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, postponed.


In April, the Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 23 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This resulted in the displacement of 13 people, including nine children, and otherwise affected the livelihoods, or access to services, of over 100 others. All the structures were in Area C or East Jerusalem and were targeted due to a lack of building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain.

The decline recorded in April, compared with previous months, is attributed to the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan on 13 April, during which the Israeli authorities traditionally halt most demolitions. Three structures were seized since that date and through the end of April.

While the number of structures targeted in April is the second lowest this year, the cumulative figure in 2021, as of end April, is 90 per cent higher than its equivalent for the same period in 2020 (166 vs. 316) and 129 per cent higher for structures provided as humanitarian aid (48 vs. 110).

One of the structures, located in the herding community of Susiya (Hebron), in addition to a cover for an agricultural structure in Al Khadr (Bethlehem), had been provided as humanitarian aid.

In Khirbet Ar Ras Al Ahmar, a small Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley, 21 donor-funded aid structures, including a 3.2 km agricultural road, at a value of more than 60,000 euros, were served with stop-work orders. The community, which is located in an area designated by the Israeli authorities as ‘firing zone’ for military training, is at heightened risk of a forcible transfer.

Also, in the northern Jordan Valley, an Israeli Settlement Regional Council handed several seizure orders against Palestinian-owned vegetable stalls in an Area C section of Bardala and Kardala villages (Tubas). Legal partners have filed an objection with the Israeli Civil Administration, arguing that the Regional Council lacks authority to issue such orders against Palestinians, and noted that the orders are based on Israeli civil law, which is not applicable in Area C.

Ten structures were demolished in East Jerusalem: nine of them by the Jerusalem Municipality and one by the structure’s owner, following the issuance of a demolition order. Six of the trageted structures were in Al Isawiya neigbourhood, affecting the livelihoods of 18 people, including ten children. Another three livelihood structures were located in the Beit Hanina neigbourhood: according to the affected families, the Municipality demolished the structures before the expiration of the two-week notice given to them, while their lawyer was about to file an objection.

In a hearing at the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) on 8 April, the Israeli authorities announced the freezing of a demolition order against an EU-funded school in the Bedouin community of Al Muntar (Jerusalem governorate), pending further investigation on the land status.

On 20 April, at a hearing on the pending eviction of four extended families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, the HCJ proposed that the affected families acknowledge the ownership of the Israeli settler organization demanding the eviction over their homes, and obtain in exchange a protected tenant status. An additional hearing that had been scheduled on early May, was postponed at the request of Israel’s Attorney General, in the context of the growing tensions in East Jerusalem.

On 22 April, representatives of 28 Palestinian families (~500 people) from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem sent a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling to urgently include the threat of forced eviction against them, as part of the current investigation respecting the situation in Palestine.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.