Israel has pursued a policy of house demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territories for decades.
According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, as of October 2009 more than 24,000 Palestinian houses have been demolished in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem since 1967.
The campaign of house demolitions intensified after the signing of the Oslo II Agreement in 1995, especially in so-called Area C, a zone within occupied Palestinian territory that is under Israeli administration and security control.
Israel governs all building authorities, which have no Palestinian representation. A Palestinian seeking to obtain a building permit to build on his land in Area C must undergo a prolonged, complicated, and expensive procedure, which generally results in denial of the application.
Between 1998 to 2009, approximately 2,450 structures in Area C owned by Palestinians were demolished after allegedly being constructed without building permits, according to the Israeli state attorney’s office. During the same period, Israeli authorities demolished 1,230 “illegal” buildings in the occupied Palestinian territories belonging to Israelis.
With the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000, home demolitions and forced evictions intensified. B’tselem reports that Israel has demolished some 4,100 Palestinian homes from 2000 to 2004.
According to the Jerusalem-based organization al-Maqdese, during 2009 more than 100 housing units were demolished in occupied East Jerusalem, an increasing trend compared to 2008, when 89 home demolitions were carried out.