The Bulldozing of Palestinian Homes: Cruelty is NOT a Human Right

Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Conscious Living, Peace & Human Rights with 63 Comments

By César Chelala |

It is the beginning of their nightmares. Many Palestinians go to bed every night without knowing if their homes will be bulldozed during the night by the Israeli police. According to Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House demolitions (ICAHD), house demolitions are one of Israel’s main weapon of occupation of Palestinian land.

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The destruction of homes is similar in most cases. Police, and sometimes the military, arrive at dawn while families are sleeping. They surround the house and call for the family to come outside. If the family resists, they will be forcefully removed and the bulldozers will begin their tragic task of destruction. Only sometimes are families allowed to take some of their possessions with them.

At other times the homes, because of their size, are wired with explosives and blown up, rather than bulldozed. When that happens, the police form a human barrier in front of the street leading to the house, to block the residents from any resistance when seeing their homes wired with explosives and destroyed. An Amnesty International report states that house demolitions are many times carried out without prior warning and the home’s inhabitants are given little time to evacuate.

From January 1 to August 18 of 2015, the Israeli police demolished 331 Palestinian structures in Area C (not including East Jerusalem) and 457 people, including 263 children, lost their precarious homes, according to data from the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights Organization.

According to the Israeli government, homes are destroyed because they have no building permits. Therefore, the house is illegal and subject to demolition. What the government doesn’t say, however, is that for Palestinians building permits are practically impossible to obtain which makes the building of any new homes illegal.

“The destruction of Palestinian homes, agricultural land and other property in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, is inextricably linked with Israel’s long-standing policy of appropriating as much as possible of the land it occupies, notably by establishing Israeli settlements,” states Amnesty International.

The practice of home demolitions originated under the British Mandate. The government gave the military commanders authority to confiscate and raze “any house, structure or land…the inhabitants of which he is satisfied have committed…any offence against these Regulations involving violence.” In 1945 the authorities passed the Defence (Emergency) Regulations. Regulation 119 made this practice available to the local Military Commander without restrictions or appeal.

In 1968, after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, Theodor Meron, who was a legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, advised the Prime Minister’s office that house demolitions, even of suspected terrorists’ residences, were ‘legally unconvincing’ and violated the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in war. This view is shared by most scholars of international law, including prominent Israeli experts.

Several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions oppose the practice, and argue that it violates international laws against collective punishment, the destruction of private property and the use of force against civilians.

Even the use of the practice of home demolitions as a deterrence of violent actions by Palestinians has been questioned. In 2005, an Israeli Army commission to study house demolitions found no proof of effective deterrence, and concluded that the damage caused by the demolitions overrides its effectiveness.

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International human rights groups accuse the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out demolitions as a form of collective punishment, and as theft of Palestinian land by annexation to build the Israeli West Bank barrier or to create, expand or otherwise benefit Israeli settlements.

There is something gruesome about the most powerful army in the Middle East, and one of the most powerful armies in the world, attacking innocent civilians and destroying their homes and possessions. Cruelty is not a human right.

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 César Chelala, MD, PhD, is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award. He is also the foreign correspondent for Middle East Times International (Australia).


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  1.' Jeff Jones says:

    And Israel supposed to be the good guy here

  2.' Francisco J Camargo says:


  3.' Sarah Squires says:

    Fucked up disgrace

  4.' Todd Speed says:

    The thing is having known many Isrealis on my travel most told me that there parents or grandparents were Arabic Muslims who after WW2 were giving the choice to make a new nation….All they needed to qualify was one Jewish ancestor!

  5.' Lisa Westphall says:

    Netanyahu’s Last Stand. Custer in the 21st century. Can’t attack Iran so turns to their “whipping boy” the Palestinians. They have been brutalized long enough for crimes they never committed. Their only crime is existing where the Jews want to live and fighting for their lives.

  6.' Lisa Westphall says:

    Weeding the garden for the Jewish settlers. Nothing new and no one to stop them. The world is blind, deaf and dumb when it comes to the atrocities they commit. Why? Why do they get a pass?

  7.' David Frankenburger says:

    I can’t believe we support this!

    •' Israel Borochof says:

      you would support much more if a person from this house blew a bus with your wife in it.

    •' David Frankenburger says:

      That’s your excuse for murdering women and children? Not very enlightened.

      •' Keld chr says:

        Are you talking about when israel defends itself from rocketattacks? hitting the sites, from where the rockets are shot from? ive seen pictures of women and children, sitting right behind, a few metres from a Hamas rocketlaunch-site! are you calling the IDF the killers? You must be insane! Its hamas that kills their own wemen and children, by placing them right beside their launch-sites, as bomb-shields ! THATS barbaric! the IDF are doing everything they can, not to hit civilians, but its difficult not to, when Hamas and other terroritsorg. do, as they do!

  8.' Michael McCharles says:

    What is wrong with this world?
    Where the 3 faiths exist there has to be some common, basic principles that are the same in which respect for all life is necessary to exist. How could you put a family out with no where to go? Please God fix our species before we destroy each other!

  9.' Luka Dawkins says:

    Israel is ran by the US. Nothing is suprising. Corrupt to the core

  10.' Arabella Magica says:

    thiefs !

  11.' Jose Antonio Curi says:

    que barbaridad.

  12.' Ariel Finally says:

    The promise land…

  13.' Russ Ridlington says:

    So proud of our brothers in Israel, they know how to treat humans like shit.

  14.' Valkie Norskie says:

    Yes…it has happened before…It will continue until it is HONESTLY ADDRESSED…

  15.' Jeanne Celiberti says:

    How can we continue to finance this?

  16.' Melissa Thompson says:


  17.' Dean Judy Rosie Fyfe says:

    this has to stop, wtf? 🙁 Jude

  18.' Sheron Halo Jones says:

    When the jews were given a homeland, about 1948? (as they were scattered all over the world -mostly not liked), the Palestinian gave up SOME of their land to the Israelites/jewish people. Today Israel has at least 3X the land given to them, and they have pushed the Palestinians back to the smallest area imaginable, in the Gaza strip. Not only do they destroy Palestinian homes, they often turn off the electricity and even block water supplies. Everyone feels sorry for the jew, as even I do, but the inhumanity and unfairness is deplorable.

    •' Israel Borochof says:

      you are so ignorant ……

    •' Michele Epling Chapel says:

      Israel has been attacked in every war they have ever been in. Hence the acquiring 3x more land. Gaza belongs to Israel, they graciously allowed the Arabic refugees to live there, when no other Arabic country would take them in. In turn they terrorize Israel, that’s a great show of gratitude! Can’t blame Israel, should have done it a long time ago!

    •' nyfb says:

      Sheron it’s people like you that have no clue what their talking about just making things up and saying it like it’s fact I call people like you s*** starters. Not one word of what you said is correct. the british controlled palestine from 1919 to 1948 because the ottoman empire chose to fight on the losing side. in 1948 the jews declared their independence and the next day the arabs attacked jewih settlers but were defeated. If you had any brains you would be dangerous . the entire state of israel is the size of new jersey. and the gaza strip is not where all the palestinians are forced to live nor is it the only palestinian territory, Hamas hijacked gaza in 2007 because the PLO agreed to recognize the state of israel in exchange for israeli withdraw of gaza and israel agreed. when they pulled out egypt was supposed to step in but hamas took control and started firing missiles instead. another fact that you are oblivous to is from 1948 to 1967 jordan occupied the west bank and egypt gaza strip. they only lost it because they picked a fight and lost again. they are a bunch of losers that do nothing but whine.

    •' Robin Cameron says:

      Israel Borochof – I would say Sheron is pretty close to the mark. The policies and behaviours of the Israeli state towards its Palestinian citizens is beyond deplorable.

    •' Robin Cameron says:

      Michele Epling Chapel – not true on several counts (eg: (1) The 1982 Israeli invasion of the Lebanon; not the other way around. (2) The Gaza strip was Egyptian territory until Isreali forces moved in and took it over in 1967 (3) …. and and and ………)

  19.' Angela McCall says:

    Horror in its purist form. A horrible things to do to any human being. God Jahovah help them find their way…

  20.' Diane Elizabeth Allen Raper says:

    I do care but this has been going on for centuries it will never end. So I am sorry just leave it to them. There will never ever be peace there.

    •' John Mcleod says:

      So in other words you couldn’t care less…

    •' Diane Elizabeth Allen Raper says:

      No I care but how does it get better one one Muslim is against another Muslim this is never going to work, then you have the Americans helping both ways, good guys and bad guys, bad situation all round, how will that ever get fixed, so much greed in this world, so much control.

    •' Belinda Putters says:

      it will end when the people finally stand up to the powers that be, but the people are too comfortable and lethargic to stand up and fight against our so called governments

  21.' Roland Jacko says:

    war crime

  22.' Elaine Osman says:

    Deplorable…unfair, unjust. Totally unacceptable Israel.

  23.' Sheila Sayer says:


  24.' Rohit Muni says:

    who knows there might be weapons.. and suicide bombs.. in those houses. well done military. do what you should do.

  25.' Jerome Ward says:

    Synagogue of satan

  26.' Patricia Jonassen says:

    how can this go on without it being stopped its inhuman

  27.' Donna Rahman says:

    I’m so sorry they are suffering like this. Humanity is letting them down.

  28.' Debby Dutkovich says:

    We ARE all humans aren’t we? What has happened to “do unto others…”?! This must stop!

  29.' June Saunders says:


  30.' Martin Bonilla says:


  31.' Kurt Lawrence Real says:

    Thats not right, theyre humans though

  32.' Mano Muse Weheliye says:

    Yaa allah but peace between this brothers amiiin amiiiin amiiiiiin!

  33.' Mohammad Azam says:

    Israel has crossed all their limits but still all leaders are quite…. I ask why…? Where is U.N. who talks for humanity… its shame for all of us….

  34.' Abel D. J. Vries says:


  35.' Tanja Kolar says:

    Fucking jew scum

  36.' Penny Wolfe says:

    I ll tell you what happened, some one spread evil by opening the Quran, all of it is despicable. WORLD PEACE HAS TO COME NOW, WE CAN’T JUST LET THIS HAPPEN, but if you think about it, its happening right here in the USA…

  37.' תמר בלומנשטיין says:

    Only the one that have killed jews or put booms or trow killing stones knows thst he cannot sleep at night but all the other

  38.' Ghivo Solja Jr. says:

    dats bullshit jesus pliz heal the world

  39.' Åke Pettersson says:

    Om detta är sant? Vem gör deta emot en medmännska? Fy fan säger jag…

  40.' Allan Hvolby says:

    It seems that the jews has picked up some bad ideas during 2.ww that they are testing on their naboughs. Bad, bad very bad ..

  41.' Janice Garrison Doshier says:


  42.' Terri Ford says:

    We are one human family and this needs to stop.

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