House demolitions, forced displacement, denial of residency rights

Page last updated 19 November 2018


Since 1967 Israel has demolished more than 28,000 Palestinian homes, businesses, livestock facilities and other structures vital to Palestinian life and livelihood in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. These demolitions are one tool in a large range of efforts used by the Israeli government to exert their power over the Palestinians and to strengthen further the ‘Jewish State’. Other administrative strategies include the denial of Palestinian building permits, denial of Palestinian residential permits, land expropriation, zoning restrictions and settlement expansion.

And, although it is not part of the regime of occupation, a similar process of forced displacement is affecting Palestinian citizens of Israel, particularly as part of the Judaisation of the Galilee and, in the last few years, the Naqab/Negev.

Fourth Geneva Convention

Article 49 states: ‘Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.’ In addition, ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’

Article 53 states:‘Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.


1. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

“ICAHD is a non-violent, direct-action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territory…As a direct-action group, ICAHD is comprised of Israeli peace and human rights activists. All of our work in the Occupied Territories is closely coordinated with local Palestinian organizations.”


2. History of Forced Displacement of Palestinians
BADIL – Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Jan 2010

This article by BADIL outlines the events leading from the beginning of the 20th century to 2009 which have created the current situation.


3. Forced Displacement in Palestine and Israel
The American Friends Service Committee, July 2013

This report by the AFSC answers some key questions and covers important aspects relating to the forced displacement of Palestinians, namely:

* When did the forced displacement of Palestinians start?
* What is the legal status of the occupied Palestinian territory?
* What is the leading trigger for forced displacement in the occupied Palestinian territory?
* Punitive demolitions
* Administrative demolitions
* Military/land clearing demolitions
* Are home demolitions the only cause of forced displacement?
* Is forced displacement limited to the occupied Palestinian territory?
* Are corporations complicit in Israel’s forced displacement policy?
* What can you do?


4. Displacement and Dispossession
Ranjan Solomon, Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum, May 2012

This dossier prepared as a resource for use during the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel is a very good collection of links to reports, reviews and articles on forced displacement and residency rights.


5.  The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is more than just a war crime

Edo Konrad, +972, 9 July 2018

This analysis, and the linked +972 Resource document published on 2 December 2012, describe Israel’s long-term plan to use the E1 area in order to split the West Bank in two.


6. Briefing on the impending demolition of the Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank and the forcible transfer of its residents

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights October 2018

This is comprehensive in scope and references LPHR’s advocacy on this issue to date. It has the following section titles:

  • Introduction [including an update on the developments of the past couple of weeks]

  • Context of the impending demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and forcible transfer of its residents 

  • Israeli Supreme Court permits the demolition and forcible transfer of Khan al-Ahmar

  • The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is likely to amount to the war crime of forcible transfer, which is prosecutable before the International Criminal Court

  • The UK Government’s position on Khan al-Ahmar is consistent with international law

  • A business and human rights component to the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar that includes the potential involvement of UK companies

  • Seven actions for the UK government to consider as part of an urgent intervention

Contents of this section


a) Maps of the occupation
b) Occupation and the Fourth Geneva Convention

Israel’s human rights violations – an introduction
Settlement building and land issues
Restrictions on movement
House demolitions, forced displacement, denial of residency rights
The Wall
The Green Line
The economics of the occupation

c) Gaza under occupation
d) Living under occupation

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