Israel’s Theft & Destruction of Palestinian Land & Homes

June 05, 2017 IMEU
Israel’s Theft & Destruction of Palestinian Land & Homes
Palestinian children in Beit Hanina, occupied East Jerusalem, stand in front of the rubble of a multi-story apartment building on October 26, 2013 after Israeli soldiers arrived at 4:00 in the morning with bulldozers and forced residents out of the building before demolishing it. (PHOTO: Christopher Hazou / IMEU)


  • Since military occupying the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza in the June 1967 War, Israel has implemented a series of policies intended to contain and restrict the growth of Palestinian population centers and to make life difficult for ordinary Palestinians in the hopes that they will leave and can be replaced with Jewish settlers. These policies include the theft and destruction of Palestinian land for the building of illegal Jewish settlements and making it extremely difficult for Palestinians to get permission to build or expand homes and then destroying structures that have been built without a permit.


  • After the 1967 War, Israel expropriated approximately 209,792 acres of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. It also expanded the municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem, which comprised about four square miles, adding an additional 45 square miles (more than 17,000 acres) of the occupied West Bank to the city, which was then annexed to Israel in a move that has never been recognized by the international community, including the United States.


  • Since 1967, Israel has expropriated approximately 5776 acres of Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem. Thirty-five percent of the land in East Jerusalem has been confiscated for Israeli settlement use, with only 13% zoned for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up.


  • In occupied East Jerusalem and the approximately 60% of the West Bank over which Israel retains total control under the terms of the Oslo Accords, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to get permission to build new homes or additions to old ones. According to a June 2017 statement from Human Rights Watch entitled, Israel: 50 Years of Occupation Abuses :

"Israeli authorities have expropriated thousands of acres of Palestinian land for settlements and their supporting infrastructure. Discriminatory burdens, including making it nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in East Jerusalem and in the 60 percent of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control (Area C), have effectively forced Palestinians to leave their homes or to build at the risk of seeing their 'unauthorized' structures bulldozed. For decades, Israeli authorities have demolished homes on the grounds that they lacked permits, even though the law of occupation prohibits destruction of property except for military necessity, or punitively as collective punishment against families of Palestinians suspected of attacking Israelis."


  • Since 1967, Israel has destroyed more than 48,000 Palestinian homes and other buildings in the occupied territories, including agricultural buildings and places of business, because they were built without permission from Israel's occupying army.


  • Israel has also destroyed large amounts of Palestinian farmland to make way for settlements, military bases, and the wall it is building on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.



  • Israel's settlement enterprise and related infrastructure, including roads that are off limits to Palestinians, cover approximately 42% of the occupied West Bank.