VI. Home Demolitions
Twayil Abu JarwalA Bedouin Village Repeatedly under the Bulldozer
On December 11, 8, 2007, officials from the Israel Land Administration, accompanied by hundreds of police, bulldozers, and trucks, entered the unrecognized Bedouin village of Twayil Abu Jarwal near the Goral junction in the Negev and demolished 20 structures. This was the last of eight times that ILA officials demolished homes of the al-Talalqah tribe in Twayil Abu Jarwal in 2007.
In the 1950s, Israeli military authorities had moved the inhabitants of Twayil from this area, which the al-Talalqah claim as their ancestral land. In 1978 the Bedouin bought options for plots of land from the ILA in the government-planned township of Lakiya, but they have never received their plots. Instead they have lived in illegal shacks on the outskirts of the township for over 20 years. Several years ago, after giving up hope of ever receiving their plots in Lakiya, many families returned to Twayil and began to build there.143 (The situation in Lakiya is discussed below, in Chapter VII.)
In 2006 Human Rights Watch visited Twayil Abu Jarwal on a day of demolitions on December 6 and again on December 21, a day residents received another round of demolition orders. Akil al-Talalqah showed Human Rights Watch the remains of a stone schoolhouse where he studied as a child and the family cemetery with headstones dating from the 1800s. His sister Aliya al-Talalqah, 37, showed Human Rights Watch the tents where she, her 15 children, and her one-year-old grandchild have been sleeping since the last round of demolitions. Where are we supposed to go? she asked.144
Legal Authority for Demolitions
Under article 38 of Israel’s Legal Executions Law (1967), Israeli debt collection authorities may evict someone from his or her home for failure to pay a debt only after determining whether the person and his or her family have an alternative living arrangement. If the person has no adequate alternative, the debt collection office must stay the eviction or provide alternative housing.145 Demolitions, however, come under the authority of planning officials in Israel. The Building and Planning Law, which provides the basis for home demolitions, fails to offer such basic protections to the inhabitants of unlicensed buildings. There is no provision in the law requiring officials to offer residents of a demolished home alternative shelter, either before or after the demolition. Nor is there a provision requiring authorities to ensure that the inhabitants of a structure used as a home will not be left homeless and provide them with temporary accommodation if they are. Finally, the law does not entitle victims of a demolition to compensation for their losses.
In some cases, planning officials need judicial approval to carry out demolitions, while in othersnamely, where a building is still under construction or was completed within the prior 30 daysauthorities can carry out demolitions without judicial review. Even where judicial authorization is needed, the authorities file a lawsuit against the building, not the owner, who is never identified or invited to court. Therefore, it is unlikely that the owner will even know when the court case is taking place, and there are serious disincentives for approaching the courts as it may expose him or her to fines and criminal charges (see below).
In some instances the authorities appear to carry out demolition orders almost immediately, while in other instances they do not implement them for long periods. The authorities have the discretion to demolish homes singly or multiply, and at any time in the days, weeks, months, or years after a judicial order is issued: the demolition order does not specify when the demolition will occur. The authorities carry out the demolitions randomly and with no advance warning, usually in the early morning hours when villagers are sleeping or after the men of the village have left for work, with only the women and children remaining at home. In unrecognized villages, officials often carry out demolitions accompanied by a great show of force. Documentary evidence that Human Rights Watch examined and many witnesses to whom Human Rights Watch spoke described hundreds of heavily armed Israeli security forces accompanying planning officials on such occasions.
Demolitions on the Increase
The scale of the recent demolitions in Twayil Abu Jarwal, and the number of repeat demolitions in the same location, is exceptional, but for years Israeli authorities have routinely demolished the homes of Bedouin in the Negev; there have been thousands of such demolitions since the 1970s. Often the authorities destroy several homes in a village during each operation and sometimes homes in several villages. As the data below reveal, there has been a large upswing in the number of demolitions carried out against Bedouin structures in the Negev in recent years. Yet often these demolitions attract little domestic or international media coverage or attention.
Since the government does not make statistics public on home demolitions across Israel, it is difficult to gather accurate, comprehensive data on the number of warnings or judicial and administrative orders issued in a given year, in a given area, and the number of demolitions actually carried out. Human Rights Watch requested specific data on home demolitions over the past three years in our letter to the government dated May 11, 2007. In its July 23, 2007 reply, the Ministry of Justice provided the following information:
The number of legal procedures against violations of the Planning and Building Law, 5725-1965 and illegal Bedouin structures are as detailed in the following table:
The Ministry of Justice letter also stated, As of today there are 45,000 illegal buildings in the Bedouin diaspora [unrecognized villages], there are 2,000 pending legal procedures against buildings and 700 valid demolition orders - 15 of them administrative.
However, the ministry did not provide Human Rights Watch with information on levels of illegal building and number of actual demolitions in other communities in Israel requested in order to provide a comparative assessment.
Transparent and comparative official data is needed for public debate and accountability, especially to help determine whether state authorities have carried out demolitions in a discriminatory fashion or in a way that violates Israels obligations under international human rights treaties.
However, Human Rights Watch was able to obtain several sets of government statisticssome sent to journalists or to members of the Knesset in answer to parliamentary questions and shared with Human Rights Watch, and in one case an internal Ministry of Interior database, obtained by an Israeli NGO, of outstanding judicial demolition orders in all regions of Israel as of January 2005. In the unpublished ministry database that Human Rights Watch reviewed, all 242 outstanding judicial demolition orders in January 2005 in the Southern region were against structures of Bedouin residents, even though Bedouin make up only 25 percent of the Negev population.146
NGOs keep their own lists of demolitions based on news reports, field visits to the scene of the demolition, and reports from the communities. The Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages in the Negev tallied 227 home demolitions in 2007, up from 96 in 2006 and 15 in 2005.147 The Association for Civil Rights in Israel reported 224 home demolitions in 2007.
Atwa Abu Frieh works with the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, and confirms the trend visible in the RCUV statistics. "In all villages house demolitions are increasing," he told Human Rights Watch.
In villages that have received government recognition [the newly recognized villages], we believe they increase demolitions outside the blue line [official boundaries] to get people to move inside. In the unrecognized villages they increase demolitions to push people to move to recognized locations.148
Another dramatic change in recent years is the fact that planning authorities have started issuing mass warnings or demolition orders against entire neighborhoods or even entire villages, thus paving the way for further mass demolition operations. Banna Shoughry-Badarne, a lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said:
During its research Human Rights Watch discovered several villages with these mass warnings or demolition orders, including the following:
In none of these locations have government officials given the residents any information on the future use of the land or the public interest necessitating these mass evictions. Human Rights Watch questioned government officials on the need for the land in our letter dated May 11, 2007. In its July 23 response, the Ministry of Justice provided a justification in only one of the above cases, stating, in the case of al-Sira, that it shall be indicated that the land in the area of the airbase and its surroundings is necessary for the expansion of the airbase and other military needs. This is the same reason that the government has previously asserted, but there is little to demonstrate that there is an actual necessity. On the contrary, the head of al-Siras village council, Khalil al-Amour, noted, We spoke to the current Nevatim air base commander and the previous one. They told us that the military does not need this land.151
Official statements also reflect the increase in enforcement activities. In a Knesset committee debate on home demolitions in November 2006, the head of the Ministry of Interior for the Southern Region, Dudu Cohen, said, There is a government decision allowing the ministries and the ILA to increase the enforcement of the Planning and Building law. Recently the government has finished its preparation. All we are seeing now is the result of the states completion of the preparation stage, following the decision to enforce the law. There is nothing new here."152
Israeli authorities give a variety of reasons for demolishing Bedouin homes in the Negev. These reasons include: that the home was built without securing the proper permit, on land that is not zoned for residential use, in an area that does not have an approved master plan, or where the building violates the specifications of that plan. As discussed previously, the Bedouin of the unrecognized villages live in a legal limbo whereby it is in fact impossible for them to meet the conditions of the Building and Planning Law and thus to comply with the law in building homes or other structures.
Judicial demolition orders spell out the states legal argument for demolishing homes in order to uphold public order:
The order goes on to say:
Finally, this order acknowledges obliquely that, at least in the case at hand, Bedouin claim ownership of the land they are being accused of illegally building upon:
The settlement process refers to the process established by the Land Rights Settlement Ordinance [New Version] - 1969, which (as explained in Chapter III, above) entitled Bedouin in the 1970s to register their claim to Negev land. Many Bedouin live in ancestral villages, established before the founding of Israel in 1948, over which they officially registered an ownership claim in the 1970s, yet whose presence Israeli planning authorities have stubbornly refused to acknowledge in master plans, rendering every home in these villages illegal. The same authorities who refused to include these villages in the planning process (a grossly negligent omission), or provide any adequate residential alternative to their inhabitants, prosecute the village home owners in court, claiming that their very presence is a public nuisance of such magnitude that the only appropriate remedy is to render an entire family homeless.
Mohamed Abu Solb was one of several people Human Rights Watch interviewed who had served in the Israel Defense Forces. The men of Abu Solb served in the armyI was in the army as were my father and all my brothers.156
Jadwa Abu Sbeit told Human Rights Watch:
How Demolitions Are Carried Out
In most cases, the first stage in the demolition process is when a supervisor appointed by the building and planning authorities posts a warning on a structure, notifying the owner (who is never named in the warning) that he or she has violated some article of the Building and Planning Law. The warning states that the building has been built in violation of the law and that the owner should demolish the building that was built illegally or appear before the planning authorities, within a period up to 30 days from the time the warning was issued, to provide documentation that they have built legally. If the person does not comply with the warning, the authorities can take further action such as issuing an administrative demolition order or going to court for a judicial demolition order (the distinction between the two types of order is explained below).
Every Planning and Building Commission, local as well as regional and national, has a statutory right to enforce building codes. Human Rights Watch studied copies of several warnings, including one issued by the Local Commission for Planning and Building of Omer158 (see translated Warning in Appendix C.) In the warnings we studied, those responsible failed to fill out much of the form or did so sloppily. For example, in the Omer-issued warning, officials filled out none of the identifying lines, including the owners name, the building targeted, or its location. In the section indicating what building violations were committed under the 1965 Planning and Building Law, officials often check multiple violations, such as building without a permit/in violation of a permit/plan, and using lands without a permit/in violation of a permit/plan. According to the warnings, the authorities require the unnamed owner to stop all work, return the land to the status quo ante, and appear before the supervisor by the date listed. In the Omer-issued warning, the supervisors name is not printed and a scrawled signature makes it impossible to determine who signed the warning.
The village of Tarabin al-Sane was first established in 1956, after Israeli military officials forcibly moved the Bedouin residents there from their ancestral village. The village thus existed before the nearby town of Omer was founded, in 1975.159 By demanding that the residents return the land to the status quo ante, the warning seems to suggest that the entire village can rewind over 50 years, from the time the Tarabin were moved to the area by the state and established their village there. It totally disregards the communitys long ties to the land, and the fact that for decades, until Omers desire to expand, they lived there with no interference from the authorities.
When planning officials come to hand out warnings, a large number of police often accompany them. Many Bedouin told Human Rights Watch about police and officials entering their homes or the open areas just in front of their homes and the terrified reaction of their families. In many of the cases Human Rights Watch investigated, the authorities had handed out mass warnings.
Residents of al-Sirr said they received mass warnings in March 2006. Every single physical structure in the village got a warning, said Ibrahim al-Gradi. They came from the beginning of the village to the endeven the animal pens. Not just recently built structures but even those built before 1948. They came just before the [March 2006] elections and promised theyd come back afterwards with demolition orders.160
Nasim Jirjawi, from the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Neam told Human Rights Watch that planning officials and police came in 2005 to deliver warnings to a large number of families:
A Tarabin al-Sane resident described the day that authorities delivered warnings there:
Another resident of Tarabin al-Sane told how the officers entered their homes during the delivery of the warnings:
The same resident talked about the impact of the large forces on his children:
In some cases the authorities cordoned off the area when they came to hand out warnings. Adalahs lawyer Morad al-Sane tried to go to Tarabin al-Sane on the day that mass warnings were handed out, but he was blocked from entering the area:
When the police commander arrived he admitted to al-Sane that he had no order and eventually said that al-Sane, as a lawyer, could enter, but not the other NGO and community members with him. Al-Sane refused, continued to argue, and threatened to complain to the Police Investigation Division.
He let us just stay there arguing and negotiating with him until he knew that the police had finished what they needed to do in the village and finally let us in after all the warnings had been handed out. At least one-and-a-half hours had passedit was around 10 or 10:30 then.166
Some residents talked about the shock of receiving warnings, in many cases after having lived for decades in their current locations without any interference from the government. Ibrahim al Grady of al-Sirr told Human Rights Watch, Our family has been living here for 50-60 years, and its really hard to deal with this sudden order to just get up and leave. The collective memory of 60 years is here. We cant just pack it up overnight.167
Others told Human Rights Watch that after receiving warnings they did approach the authorities to find out why they were being targeted en masse and what they were supposed to do once they were evicted from their homes. None of them received information on the intended use of their land and, while authorities often told them in general terms that they should move to one of the government-planned townships, they were not given immediate, concrete living alternatives.
On September 7, 2006, planning officials distributed six judicial demolition orders and warnings to the rest of the 45 houses in the unrecognized village of al-Sira. When representatives of the approximately 300 residents of al-Sira approached the authorities, they found there were no alternatives for them:
Since that time the rest of the villagers, those who previously just had warnings, have also received judicial demolition orders. In its July 23, 2007 letter to Human Rights Watch, the Ministry of Justice said, [T]hese residents are offered to move to one of the quarters in the new town of Makhol [official name of Marit] and/or to one of the other permanent towns.
Orders and Demolitions
If an owner does not comply with a warning to demolish his or her home, the authorities may then issue a demolition order against the structure. Under the Planning and Building Law, there are several ways for authorities to lay the groundwork for demolishing structures that allegedly violate building regulations.
Administrative demolition orders
Under Article 238a, planning authorities can hand out demolition notices to structures that are in the process of being built or were finished within the past 30 days. These administrative orders (tzav minhali) do not require judicial oversight and can be issued by the planning commission in the jurisdiction where the building lies. The orders are valid for only 30 days from the date of issue and allow the authorities to demolish the building after 24 hours from the time the building inspectors affix the order to the building, if the building has been built without a permit, or after 72 hours in all other circumstances. This leaves home owners with little time to prepare for the imminent demolition or to appeal the order to the judicial authorities.
Human Rights Watch studied administrative demolition orders in three unrecognized villages, including one that the Ministry of Interior issued against homes in Twayil Abu Jarwal on December 20, 2006 (see translated order in Appendix D) The order was written only in Hebrew, not Arabic, and the type of language used was almost incomprehensible to a native Hebrew speaker whom Human Rights Watch consulted.169 While the order does mention the right to appeal, it stipulates explicitly that the court will not cancel or delay an Administrative Order unless it is proved that the construction for which the order was issued had been done legally.170 Since no Bedouin were able to build homes legally in the unrecognized villages, the order basically precludes any possibility for judicial remedy and provides a powerful disincentive against Bedouin appeals.
Judicial demolition orders
If 30 days have passed since the building was completed, the planning authorities can appeal to the courts to enforce the building laws, either under article 205 of the Building and Planning law, which lawyer Banna Shoughry-Badarne of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says the authorities use in most areas of Israel, or under article 212, which she says authorities reserve almost exclusively for inhabitants of the unrecognized Bedouin villages. Under article 205 the authorities can prosecute the building owner and in some cases may decide to destroy the illegal structure. Under article 212 of the law, known as demolition without conviction, the authorities claim that they cannot identify or locate the building owner, and thus the only way to enforce the law is to demolish the structure. Human Rights Watch asked government officials about this practice in our letter dated May 11, 2007. In its July 23 response the Ministry of Justice did not answer the question about whether article 212 is used against any non-Bedouin structures in Israel. They did write that [a]n ex parte demolition order, according to Article 212 of the Planning and Building Law, 5725‑1965, is executed only as a final resort, when it is impossible to file an indictment against the owners in a usual manner (Articles 204 and 205) or when every other alternative was exhausted. This assertion is disputed by NGOs, as discussed below.
According to a judicial demolition order from Um Mitnan (see Appendix E), the judge makes the following distinction between the two articles of the law:
According to the Building and Planning Regulations of 1982, which govern implementation of the Building and Planning Law, courts can grant demolition orders under Article 212 solely on the basis of a plaintiffs request if the court sees that it is impossible or impractical to summon forth to the hearing a person who may be damaged by the enactment of the order .172
Under article 212, officials obtain a judicial demolition order by filing a suit against owner unknown. Negev cases are always heard in the Beer Sheva Magistrates Court. The process is more time-consuming and costly for the state than just issuing an administrative order, but the court requires minimal evidence and officials simply assert that the land is not covered by an approved master plan, is not zoned for residential use, and the owner did not acquire a permit. These are conditions that apply by definition to all buildings in unrecognized villages. Lawyers told Human Rights Watch that they knew of no case in which the court had not issued a judicial demolition order when requested to do so by the authorities.173
Lawyers from Adalah contend that the authorities have abused the provisions of article 212 to secure judicial demolition orders. In a January 2007 motion to the Beer Sheva Magistrates Court, Adalah charged that when authorities secured judicial demolition orders against owners unknown in the unrecognized village of Um al-Hieran, they were fully aware of the identity of all the inhabitants. In April 2004, the authorities had filed evacuation lawsuits against all residents of the village in which they had to clearly identify each one by name and identification number. Yet just the next year, when the planning authorities wanted to issue demolition orders against the same buildings, they claimed not to know the identity of the owners.174
The judicial demolition orders give planning authorities authorization to demolish the home. The homeowner has no real due process rights in these judicial demolition cases. While the Bedouin can appeal the courts decision, they have every incentive not to: in appealing such an order, the previously unidentified Bedouin will have to identify him/herself to the courts. In this case, the authorities can criminally prosecute him or her under Article 205 of the law for illegal building, and a conviction may entail a fine or even jail time. Many Bedouin are chiefly worried about having a criminal record, a fact that will prevent them from obtaining a civil service job such as teaching.
Several lawyers who have represented dozens of clients in home demolition cases told Human Rights Watch that, as far as they knew, no home demolition order in the unrecognized villages had ever been overturned, and the best case scenario was to get a postponement. According to lawyer Shafeek Abu Hani:
Abu Hani went on to explain the vulnerability of the Bedouin in the legal system:
Lawyer Banna Shoughry-Badarne confirmed the futility of challenging home demolition cases:
Suliman Abu Bayid lives in an unrecognized neighborhood on the outskirts of the Bedouin township of Lakiya. The Abu Bayid family is one of several families who bought options to plots of land from the government before Lakiya was even established but have yet to receive their plots, forcing many to build illegally on the outskirts of town (see Chapter VII, below). He told Human Rights Watch about a demolition order that his mother received in 1986:
In March 2003, the regional court in Beer Sheva issued a demolition order for the mosque in the unrecognized village of Um al-Hieran.179 Salim Abu Alqian told Human Rights Watch:
After receiving a judicial demolition order from a court, the planning authorities have to deliver it to the structure. In order to prove in any subsequent legal challenge that they actually delivered the order, they usually stick it on the structure and photograph it. They do not hand it to an individual, and they do not require a signature of receipt. Bedouin villagers and several lawyers told Human Rights Watch of instances where the orders had been place on hard to see areas of the house, fallen off, blown away, or been removed by children.181
In Um al-Hieran, one resident told Human Rights Watch that on February 6, 2006, the authorities delivered demolition orders to the whole village:
Many of those who received demolition orders spoke of their feelings of hopelessness and lack of alternatives. In the words of one man:
No Prior Warning of Demolition
Most victims of home demolitions said that they had received no specific warning in the days leading up to the actual demolition. The authorities had never indicated what day, month, or year they planned to implement the demolition orders. There are no available criteria to indicate which demolitions will occur first, or how much time will likely pass between the notice of a demolition order and its implementation. In some cases years have passed. It is unclear whether the authorities even intend to carry out all the demolition orders they issue, and many Bedouin activists believe the demolition orders are no more than a pressure tactic. There is no way for families to adequately prepare, and they live with constant fear of the unknown. This also prevents families from making further investments or improvements that may make their structures marginally more habitable or comfortable.
In the Ministry of Interior list that Human Rights Watch obtained for all outstanding judicial demolition orders as of January 2005, there are orders dating as far back as 1994. Officials gave the orders a ranking of A, B, or C, indicating the importance attached to implementing the order. It is difficult to ascertain what dictated the ranking, other than that it is not the date of issuance.
Many people told Human Rights Watch that the demolitions are carried out early in the morningwhen bulldozers woke the familyor around 9-10 a.m., after most males and school-age children have left the village and only women, the elderly and very young children remain. One woman in Um Mitnan village, Fatima al-Ghanami, 60, described the day her home was demolished:
She described not expecting the first demolition but now living in fear of a second one:
Sarah Kishkher, also of Um Mitnam, said the authorities had indicated a time when they would demolish her home but then came at a different time:
In one case in which authorities demolished a small shop on the road into the village of Bir al-Mshash, the residents didnt witness the demolition. They did it while we were still sleeping. It was very early, around 5 a.m. When people started leaving the village later to go to work, they called us to tell us what had happened. No one saw it.187
Destruction of Belongings
In some cases the authorities brought workers with them to remove the belongings from the houses before demolishing them, according to some victims, but in other cases belongings were crushed in the demolition. Some victims said that the authorities confiscated their belongings. Sarah Kishkher said:
Her daughter Hamda Kishkher added:
Suliman Abu Bayid, from the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages of the Negev, said, People invest everything in their homes and afterwards they cant even afford to buy materials to build a tent, which also costs money. In this case the authorities smashed everything.190
On May 28, 2002, Israeli authorities demolished 52 homes in the unrecognized village of Al Araqib.191 Sheikh al-Turi told Human Rights Watch about the day of his homes demolition:
Demolitions Accompanied by Police Violence/Clashes
On November 15, 2005, planning officials and a large number of police entered the unrecognized village of Bir al-Mashash to distribute mass demolition orders. Villagers tried to block police from delivering warnings by using their bodies as physical barriers and in some cases throwing stones at the forces. The police fired into the air and used clubs against villagers, and in the end 12 villagers were hospitalized, including a pregnant woman who later miscarried. The police arrested 42 residents of the village.193 In December 2005, Adalah filed complaints with the Police Investigation Division (PID) against border policemen for using excessive force and injuring 12 protesters. By the end of 2006, the PID had not responded.
Suliman Abu Bayid, from RCUV, was there that day, recording the events on camera. He told Human Rights Watch:
Another woman was beaten badly on the head and suffered a concussion. She told Human Rights Watch how she found it hard to walk any distance or concentrate due to dizziness and headaches that she still suffered months later.
Salim Abu Alqian, from Um al-Hieran, described a similar incident at his village:
Aliya al-Talalqah, 37, from Twayil Abu Jarwal, told Human Rights Watch how the authorities destroyed her home in September 2006. The police came into the house and threw me on the ground. I was ripping at my hair and clothes and screaming. I was totally beside myself. The kids were terrified, hanging onto me and screaming.196
Several people described how owners demolished their own homes. Shiekh Abu Sbeit, from Bir al-Mshash, told Human Rights Watch:
Sarah Kishkher, whose home in Um Mitnam was demolished (see above), said, We were about to demolish the homes ourselves so that we could salvage as much as possible. She explained:
A resident of the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Neam told Human Rights Watch:
Mohamed Abu Solb told Human Rights Watch how he demolished his own shops, built on family land:
Impact of Home Demolitions
After a demolition families often live in makeshift shelters that do not protect them against the elements and that lack basic facilities. Many people do not have the money to rebuild or are afraid that rebuilding will invite future demolition. Human Rights Watch asked a group of women in Um Mitnan whether they would rebuild again after a demolition left several families homeless, some for the second or third time. One replied adamantly, No, thats it. We are not building again. The family now lives in tents made from burlap sacks, plastic sheeting, and other materials they managed to salvage. Hamda Kishkher asked, Even if they come again and demolish our tents, what do we care? How much worse could it be?201
Many feel cheated or incredulous. Sarah Kishkher asked, Why would they demolish such basic structures? You can hardly call them homes. We didnt even have electricity. Its not that we built palaces, its just cement blocks on the sides and a tin roof.202
The same group of women spoke about the physical and emotional impact of the demolition, including the struggle to keep the childrens food and milk from spoiling and the familys meager belongings clean. Sarah Kishkher said:
Hamda Kishkher, five months pregnant, and with a nine-month-old son, described the discomfort of sleeping on the rocky ground and the lack of privacy. In this small tent we have no space. We all have to lie packed closely together in this small space. If someone actually wants to get some sleep they go sleep in the car.204
Fadia Kishkher spoke of health problems and her feeling of despair: The last few days were really hard because of the strong rains at night. We found out that the tent leaks. Im sick with ulcers. Sometimes I feel so bad that I cant even take care of the children. Only the children keep me from killing myself.205
We were very sad when we came from school and saw that our house was gone, said Saher Kishkher, age 11.206
Aliya al-Talalqah from Twayil Abu Jarwal said, It took us five-six days after the demolition to make these tents. We slept outside on mats, like wild animals, with the sun in the day and the cold at night, with small children.207
Fatima al-Ghranami, 60, talked about the loss of her home:
In 2006, the Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights-Israel published findings on the emotional impact of home demolitions on children in the Negev. They said that the demolitions are a source of serious trauma for children, including the physical trauma of being without adequate housing during winter months and the emotional trauma of losing stability and security of shelter.209
143 See Chapter VII for more on problems of plots in the recognized townships.
144 Human Rights Watch interview with Akil al-Talalqah and Aliya al-Talalqah, Twayil abu Jarwal, December 21, 2006.
145 Article 38 (a) and (b) from The Legal Execution Laws (1967). Hebrew original on file with Human Rights Watch.
146 Copy of list obtained with the help of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, on file with Human Rights Watch.
147 Statistics provided by Yeela Livnat and Said Abu Samur of RCUV on January 3, 2008. The full chart appears in Appendix B.
148 Human Rights Watch interview with Atwa abu Frieh, Beer Sheva, March 2, 2006.
149 Human Rights Watch interview with Banna Shoughry-Badarne, Jerusalem, February 27, 2007.
150 Adalah Files Motion to Cancel Orders to Demolish 33 Homes in the Unrecognized Arab Bedouin Village of Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab, on which the State Plans to Establish a Jewish Town, Adalah press release, February 14, 2007, http://www.adalah.org/eng/pressreleases2007.php (accessed May 21, 2007). The National Board for Planning and Building approved the establishment of the settlement of Hiran in April 9, 2002, and the government approved it in its decision no. 2265 of July 21, 2002.
151 Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil al-Amour, al-Sira, December 22, 2006.
152 Protocol of 11/06/2006 meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Master plans of Bedouin settlements in the Negev and home demolitions. http://www.knesset.gov.il/protocols/data/html/pnim/2006-11-06.html [Hebrew] (accessed May 23, 2007).
153 Case BS 008759/05, State of Israel vs. Person Unknown, Beer Sheva Magistrate Court, November 21, 2005 (on file with Human Rights Watch). As explained later in this Chapter, Israeli NGOs criticize the state for claiming that they do not know the owners identity even in cases where they clearly do. This enables them to secure a judicial demolition order without having to bring the owner to court.
156Human Rights Watch interview with Mohamed Abu Solb, shop across from Bir Mshash, March 30, 2006.
157 Human Rights Watch interview with Jadwa Abu Sbeit, Bir Mshash, March 30, 2006.
158 Most municipalities the size of Omer do not have their own committee. Usually a local or regional committee covers a number of localities (see Chapter V for more details).
159 In 1975 Omer was established as a municipal council (moatsa mekomit) according to the municipalitys website: http://www.omer.muni.il/hadover/omer/history2_heb.htm [Hebrew] (accessed November 20, 2007).
160 Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim al Grady, al-Sirr, April 10, 2006.
161 Human Rights Watch interview with Nasim Jirjawi, Wadi al-Neam, April 9, 2006.
162 Human Rights Watch interview with Abu Khalid, Tarabin al-Sane, April 6, 2006.
163 Human Rights Watch interview with Talal, April 6, 2006.
164 Human Rights Watch interview with Talal, April 6, 2006.
165 Human Rights Watch interview with Morad al-Sane, Beer Sheva, April 6, 2006.
167 Human Rights Watch interview with Ibrahim al-Grady, al-Sirr, April 10, 2006.
168 Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil al-Amour, al-Sira, December 22, 2006.
169 Michael Yagupsky, consultant with Human Rights Watch, translated the orders from Hebrew to English and offered comments on the Hebrew originals.
170 Administrative Demolition order in Appendix IV.
171 Case BS 008759/05, State of Israel vs. Person Unknown, Beer Sheva Magistrate Court, November 21, 2005 (on file with Human Rights Watch).
173 Human Rights Watch interviews with Shafeek Abu Hani, Beer Sheva, March 29, 2006; Banna Shoughry-Badarne, Jerusalem, February 27, 2007; Suhad Bishara, Shafa'amr, March 13, 2006.
174 Adalah Files Motion to Cancel Orders to Demolish 33 Homes in the Unrecognized Arab Bedouin Village of Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab, on which the State Plans to Establish a Jewish Town, Adalah press release.
175 Human Rights Watch interview with Shafeek Abu Hani, Beer Sheva, March 29, 2006.
177 Human Rights Watch interview with Banna Shoughry-Badarne, Jerusalem, February 27, 2007.
178 Human Rights Watch interview with Suliman Abu Bayid, Lakiya, April 6, 2006.
179 Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, The Arab-Bedouins of the Naqab-Negev Desert in Israel, p. 13.
180 Human Rights Watch interview with Salim Abu Alqian, Um al-Hieran, March 29, 2006.
181 Human Rights Watch interviews with Sarah Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006, Shafeek Abu Hani, Beer Sheva, March 29, 2006.
182 Human Rights Watch interview with Salim Abu Alqian, March 29, 2006.
183 Human Rights Watch interview with Ali al-Ghanami, Um Mitnan, April 2, 2006.
184 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatima al-Ghanami, Um Mitnan, April 2, 2006.
186 Human Rights Watch interview with Sarah Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
187 Human Rights Watch interview with Sheik Abu Sbeit, Bir Mshash, March 30, 2006.
188 Human Rights Watch interview with Sarah Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
189 Human Rights Watch interview with Hamda Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
190 Human Rights Watch interview with Sulimann Abu Bayid, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
191 Border Police and Green Patrol destroy 52 homes in the Negev, Arab Association for Human Rights press release, May 29, 2002.
192 Human Rights Watch interview with Sheikh al-Turi, Al Arakib, April 2, 2006.
193 The Negev Coexistence Forum Newsletter, 5th Edition, January 2006, http://www.dukium.org/user_uploads/News-Letters/NL5E-4web.pdf (accessed May 23, 2007).
194 Human Rights Watch interview with Suliman Abu Bayid, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
195 Human Rights Watch interview with Salim Abu Alqian, Um al-Hieran, March 29, 2006.
196 Human Rights Watch interview with Aliya al-Talalqah, Twayil Abu Jarwal, December 20, 2006.
197 Human Rights Watch interview with Sheik Abu Sbeit, Bir Mshash, March 30, 2006.
198 Human Rights Watch interview with Sarah Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
199 Human Rights Watch interview with Nasim Jirjawi, Wadi al-Neam, April 9, 2006.
200 Human Rights Watch interview with Mohamed Abu Solb, shop across from Bir Mshash, March 30, 2006.
201 Human Rights Watch interview with Hamda Kishkher,Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
202 Human Rights Watch interview with Sarah Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
203 Human Rights Watch interview with Sarah Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
204 Human Rights Watch interview with Hamda Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
205 Human Rights Watch interview with Fadia Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
206 Human Rights Watch interview with Saher Kishkher, Um Mitnan, April 6, 2006.
207 Human Rights Watch interview with Aliya al-Talalgah, Twayil Abu Jarwal, December 20, 2006.
208 Human Rights Watch interview with Fatima al-Ghanami, Um Mitnan, April 2, 2006.
209 Orli Almi, The Ramifications of House Demolitions in Israel on the Mental Health of Children (Tel Aviv: Physicians for Human Rights Israel, January 2006).