71 Palestinians, including at least 31 children, displaced by Israeli authorities in last two days

05:45 Aug 19 2013 Bir Nabala

UN_OCHA Update on demolitions and displacement
20 August 2013

Following a lull in demolitions and related displacement during the month of Ramadan (beginning 10 July), the Israeli authorities resumed yesterday the demolition of Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C.

Today, initial information indicates that Israeli forces have carried out demolitions in five different locations in Area C and two in East Jerusalem, bringing the total number of structures demolished over the past two days to some 40 structures, including 13 residential structures. At least, 71 Palestinians, including 31 children have been displaced.

Displacement in Tel al Adassa area, Jerusalem Governorate

Yesterday, 19 August 2013, Israeli authorities demolished all structures, including all residential and livelihood-related structures, in the Bir Nabala Bedouin community in East Jerusalem, on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits. The community is located on the “Jerusalem side” of the Barrier, around 200 meters from Bir Nabala town. As a result of the demolitions, seven Palestinian households from the Ka’abneh Bedouin tribe were displaced, comprising 39 people, including 18 children.

The families reported that they were forced to sign a document that they will remove the rubble from the demolitions and permanently evacuate the area within 10 days, or be subjected to arrest, a fine of 70,000 NIS per ID holder, and the seizure of their livestock, approximately 300 heads of sheep. These are the remaining families in this community; four families left the community previously, due to movement and access restrictions.

The Bir Nabala Bedouin community is one of at least 16 Palestinian communities (combined population of 2,500) that are located on the “Jerusalem side” of the Barrier, although the majority of their residents hold West Bank ID cards. Those among the latter, who are living within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, are considered under Israeli law “illegal residents” and consequently are under permanent threat of eviction. All these “dislocated” communities face a range of movement and access restrictions that isolate them from the remainder of the West Bank and contribute to humanitarian vulnerability.

In 2013, there has been a significant rise in demolitions and displacement in East Jerusalem. The number of people displaced, this year, in East Jerusalem is now over 200, by far the highest number since 2009 and more than the combined total of persons displaced in East Jerusalem in all of 2011 and 2012.

On the demolitions
According to community residents, at 5:45am, 19 August 2013, the Israeli authorities, with two bulldozers, dogs, horses, and a large number of security forces, including the police, border police and special forces, arrived and began the widespread demolition of structures. In total, 21 structures were demolished, including six residential structures, 11 livestock or poultry-related structures (nine animal barracks, one fodder storage structure, one chicken pen) and four kitchens. During the demolition, the Israeli authorities also damaged eight fodder containers, including 1.6 tons of fodder and four hay sacks, among other things.

Background on the community
The Bir Nabala Bedouin community has lived in the Tal al Adassa area between Ramallah and Jerusalem for decades; since before 1967, the community has had an informal agreement with Beit Hanina al Balad land owners giving them permission to stay on land in the area. Since 1987, they have been settled in their current location, just within the municipal area of Jerusalem. Community residents hold West Bank ID cards and, therefore, under Israeli legislation are considered “illegal residents” in their present location.

In September 2007, the Barrier was completed in the area, cutting the community off from the rest of the West Bank, including the nearby town of Bir Nabala, on which the community relied for basic services, including schools. With only limited exceptions, the Israeli authorities have issued neither permits for residents to continue legally residing in their homes, nor provided for a coordination mechanism allowing passage through the nearest checkpoint. As a result, residents left only when absolutely necessary, fearing that they would not be allowed to return.

The community has faced difficult access to education, health and water services following Barrier construction. Several families with school-age children have been separated, with children staying in rented apartments in Bir Nabala town in order to easily access their schools, which used to be a 15-minute walk away. Combined these restrictions have taken a significant psycho-social toll on residents. In 2010/2011, four families (33 people, including 20 children) left the location (selling around 400 sheep) due to the unsustainable situation and intense movement and access restrictions; these families are now living in Jaba’ village and Bir Nabala town. The remaining families, whose structures were demolished yesterday, have been forced to gradually sell off parts of their sheep herd as a coping mechanism in recent years.

Previous demolition orders
Since 2002, the Jerusalem Municipality has issued demolition orders against all structures in the community. In May 2012, the community reported that the remaining families had received a fine from the Jerusalem Municipality of 30,000 NIS for building without permits (and an additional 4,000NIS fine for not attending the court session). The families had started paying the fine in installments of 500 NIS per family per month. In early June 2013, residents report receiving verbal evacuation orders from the Israeli authorities to permanently leave their homes in the area to the “West Bank” side of the Barrier in the coming weeks.

For further information, contact OCHA oPt:
Elin Asgeirsdottir, 054 33 11 841

For additional information on demolitions, displacement and Barrier-related issues affecting Palestinian civilians, please see:

OCHA oPt Fact Sheet, “The Humanitarian Impact of the Barrier,” July 2013, available at:

OCHA oPt Fact Sheet, “East Jerusalem: Key Humanitarian Concerns,” December 2012, available at:

OCHA oPt Fact Sheet, “Area C of the West Bank: Key Humanitarian Concerns,” January 2013, available at:
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