UN Committee Demands Israel Stops House Demolitions Forthwith
The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, published its concluding observations earlier this week, calling Israel to stop forthwith house demolitions, forced eviction and residency revocation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem. After considering the state report by Israel on compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the ICAHD parallel report (found here…) the Committee recommended Israel reviews and reforms its policies, to align with recommendations made by ICAHD and partner human rights and peace organizations.
ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain addressed the Committee and highlighted the propagated ethnic displacement of Palestinians in the Occupied Territory and within Israel proper, and turned the Committee members’ attention to politically driven displacement trends in East Jerusalem, Jerusalem periphery and the Jordan Valley. To listen to the statement, press here…
The Committee was also presented with findings of the recent ICAHD publication ‘No Home, No Homeland: A New Normative Framework for Examining the Practice of Administrative Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem’ (found here…) in a side event held by ICAHD in conjunction with Al-Haq, Adalah, and Be’tselem.
The Committee adopted the following concluding observations:
The Committee is concerned about the revocation of residency permits of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, which results in the loss, among other things, of their right to social security, including access to social services (art.9). The Committee calls upon the State party to put a stop to the revocation of residency permits of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. The Committee urges the State party not to hinder the enjoyment of their right to social security, including access to social services.
The Committee is deeply concerned about home demolitions and forced evictions in the West Bank, in particular Area C, as well as in East Jerusalem, by Israeli authorities, military personnel and settlers (art.11). The Committee urges the State party to stop forthwith home demolitions as reprisals and ensure that evictions in Area C are in conformity with the duty (a) to explore all possible alternatives prior to evictions; (b) to consult with the affected persons; and (c) to provide effective remedies to those affected by forced evictions carried out by the State party’s military. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the development of special outline plans and closed military zones are preceded by consultations with affected Palestinian communities. The Committee also recommends that the State party review and reform its housing policy and the issuance of construction permits in East Jerusalem, in order to prevent demolitions and forced evictions and ensure the legality of construction in those areas.
The Committee is concerned that Palestinians living in the OPT do not have access to sufficient and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. It is also concerned about the continuing destruction of the water infrastructure in Gaza and in the West Bank, including in the Jordan Valley, under military and settler operations since 1967. (art.11). The Committee urges the State party to take measures to ensure the availability of sufficient and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation for Palestinians living in the OPT, including through the facilitation of the entry of necessary materials to rebuild the water and sanitation systems in Gaza. The Committee urges the State party to take urgent steps to facilitate the restoration of the water infrastructure of the West Bank including in the Jordan Valley, affected by the destruction of the local civilians’ wells, roof water tanks, and other water and irrigation facilities under military and settler operations since 1967.
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concluding observations in their entirety can be found here…
At the time of the release of the Committee’s observations, Israel continued demolishing homes in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank in defiance of international law. Yesterday (December 5th) a house and an animal pen were demolished in Wadi Asoul (Silwan, East Jerusalem), two homes were demolished in Beit Hanina, and this morning three homes were demolished in Al Khalayleh (Area C, West Bank).