Monitoring the human right to land and housing in Palestine through 2016, the Land Research Center / Arab Studies Society has offered the following statement at the end of the year:
A year of heavy burden on the shoulders of Palestinians just passed, a year in which the Israeli occupation forces demolished our houses, ravaged our lands and violated the very basic norms of humanity.
2016 was the year in which Palestinian Bedouins and farmers exhibited highest levels of resilience and steadfastness against all Israeli measures and practices.
Field researchers, reporters and related institutions worked hard to document and expose the vicious violations of the Israeli occupation that badly affected the Palestinian people. The efforts of those warriors helped push the international community to reach UN Security Council resolution 2334 condemning the colonization in Palestine as illegal.
It should be noted that the year 2016 was characterized by the emergence of the Land Settlement Law, which was a further step in legalizing lands takeover for colonial favor. Also, 2016 showed that the so-called Absentee Property Law and Third Generation Law were the most popular among Israeli measures and methods of property and land theft in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Palestine. In addition, a discriminative law to ban the Muslim call for prayer was passed in the Israeli parliament, amid with calls from ministers to annex to the State of Israel areas classified C according to the Oslo Accords. Last, but not least, the City of Jerusalem, more specifically al-Aqsa Mosque, witnessed an unprecedented escalation in attacks and new violations.
Rates of home demolition during 2016 amounted to 208% of those in 2015. It is reported that Israeli forces demolished 418 residences sheltering 1,852 people, including 848 children, in 2016. Moreover, the rate in demolition of other structures amounted to 154% of 2015 totals. Reportedly, Israeli forces demolished 646 structures in 2016. With a total of 927 notices, the rate of demolition orders issued were 115% of the previous year.
Lands confiscated or subject to colonial expansion during 2016 totaled 13,295 dunums (1,329.5 hectares), with a notable increase of 43% compared to 2015.
It is reported that Israeli forces, including settlers, either uprooted or cut down 9,700 trees, of which 6,550 olive trees. In total, 110 Israeli attacks and assaults against Palestinian farmers and Bedouins were reported.
Religious and archeological sites underwent 195 attacks, of which 100 alone targeted al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Israeli forces extrajudicially executed 253 Palestinians at checkpoints during 2016, while the total number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons reached 7,000.
The number of checkpoints increased to 802 set up all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The number increased by 26%, compared to 2015. That measure was undertaken to serve the benefit of colonizers and to secure their movement and travel throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.
A total of 90 settler colonies underwent expansion, annexing 2,500 residential units. Israeli authorities ratified 4,600 others and approved 64 colony plans.
All Israeli attempts at Judaizing on Palestinian lands de facto have failed. The Palestinian people remain resilient and steadfast to remain on their lands and territories.
Our people know that the coming year will be darker and full of new violations. Because this occupation has become rabid despite violating international humanitarian law and peremptory norms and an increasing boycott by the international community and.
An occupation that defies common humanity will never last, and 2017 brings us one step closer to that eventuality.
Land Research Center
Arab Studies Society
29 December 2016
Photo on front page: An Israeli border police officer stands guard as a Palestinian home is razed in East Jerusalem`s Beit Hanina neighbourhood. Source: Baz Ratner / Reuters. Photo on this page: Israeli authorities demolished Bedouin homes in the vulnerable community of Abu Nwar, Area C, near East Jerusalem in the West Bank on 6 January 2016. Photo: UNRWA.
Download: Fact Sheet on Israeli Housing and Land Rights Violations during 2016