Housing, land and natural resources

Israel's Punitive House Demolition Policy: Collective Punishment in Violation of International Law

This Al-Haq report examines the legality of punitive house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by the Israeli military. Utilizing the Israeli Supreme Court's security-based reasoning, Israel justifies punitive house demolitions in reference to the Defence Emergency Regulations of 1945. With a historical background of the issue at hand, as well as 5 case sudies of demolitions in the OPT, this study reviews the policy in light of international law. It is established that this policy is a form of collective punishment, and in accordance with humanitarian law and human rights law, is assessed as a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Plunder, Destruction and Despoliation: An Analysis of Israel's Violations of the International Law of Cultural Property in the Occupied West Bank and

This report addresses Israel's systematic violation of international law pertaining to the protection of cultural property during armed conflict. It attempts to provide a comprehensive legal analysis of Israel's policies concerning cultural property in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Consideration is given to the relevant provisions of international law on the protection of cultural property; how these standards have been applied in the OPT; Israeli law regarding the protection of cultural property; patterns that have been seen in the OPT; and the obligations of Israel and third-party states regarding these ongoing violations.

Legal Consequences of the Demolition of Houses by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

This study summarises the issues surrounding the demolition and sealing of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by Israeli military forces, allegedly for security reasons. This destruction is analysed as a violation of property and due process rights as well as a form of collective punishment of Palestinians in the OPT. Such an international crime carries with it serious consequences, including compensation for the victims.

A Thousand and One Homes: Israel's Demolition and Sealing of Houses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

This occasional paper addresses the issue of house demolition and sealing by Israeli military forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Official statistics concerning the 1,001 houses which were either demolished or sealed were taken during the 11-year period between January 1981 and December 1991. The study outlines both legal and non-legal arguments made by Israeli military and government officials as well as statements made by the Israeli High Court of Justice in defense of punitive house demolition and sealing. Furthermore, it assesses the applicability of international law on house demolitions to the OPT, as well as Israel's breaches thereof. By revealing Israel's perpetual contravention of international law, the report shows Israel's insistence on undermining the legal system's credibility. Finally, the study includes detailed accounts of seven case studies of house demolitions and sealings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Missiles and Dynamite: The Israeli Military Forces' Destruction of Palestinian Homes with Anti-Tank Missiles and High-Powered Explosives

Between 1992 and 1993, Israeli military forces pursued a new strategy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ostensibly in the pursuit of "wanted" Palestinians. This new Israeli polucy permits the use of anti-tank missiles and high-powered explosives by the military forces during what the Israeli authorities describe as "military operations" conducted in order to arrest fugitive individuals. Anti-tank missiles and high-powered explosives are fired at and detonated inside Palestinian homes. As a consequence, many Palestinian homes have been destroyed and hundreds of Palestinians have been left homeless. This report reviews these actions in light of international law, examining Israeli positions as well as the matter of redress.

Town Planning Under Military Occupation: An Examination of the Law and Practice of Town Planning in the Occupied West Bank

This report addresses the matter of town planning in the West Bank, an issue which has a direct and intense impact on the quality of the lives of Palestinians. Town planning affects both their prospects of future prosperity as well as their prospects of nationhood. The Israeli military government in the West Bank utilised a planning policy which was rigorously consistent, and the decisions made through this mechanism influenced social and economic development, transport, and the quality of the environment. They influenced not only where Palestinians could build their homes, but whether those homes could be built at all. The report addresses Israeli plans for and control over development, the legal and administrative basis of planning in the West Bank, and Israeli settlements and land seizure.

Demolition and Sealing of Houses as a Punitive Measure in the Israeli-occupied West Bank

This paper examines the use of demolition and sealing of houses of Palestinians as punitive and/or deterrent measures by the Israeli military authorities in the occupied West Bank. Since May 1985, intensified use of these measures have been made by the Israeli authorities, who argue that these actions are permitted both under local and international law. The paper considers and responds to these arguments.

Planning In Whose Interest? Land Use Planning as a Strategy for Judaization

The growing disparities in the living standards between Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank reflect official Israeli efforts to better the situation of the settlers and to marginalize the Palestinians. This report shows how such divisions are created through the expansion of settlements and by amending the pre-existing Jordanian law via a land planning structure of bureacratic nature. With a case study in land use planning, this Al-Haq occasional paper assesses the legal overtones of such policies on the citizens of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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