September, 2011 - Everyday, throughout the sections of the West Bank exclusively under Israel’s control (Area C), rain water harvesting cisterns face administrative
demolition orders from the Israeli Civil Administration due to the lack of building permits. Cisterns are vital to the livelihoods of marginalized Palestinian rural and herder communities in the West Bank who rely on them to provide water for livestock, crops and sometimes for domestic water usage in the absence of an adequate network connection. Since 2009, a total of 44 cisterns and rainwater collection structures in Area C have been demolished, twenty of them between January and July of 2011.
Those demolitions have directly affected the lives of 13,602 Palestinians. Having lost their access to water, 127 people have been displaced, including 104 children. The Diakonia IHL Resource Centre weighs in on how this practice, in which thousands of Palestinians are directly affected each year, stands in relation to International Humanitarian Law.
This legal brief focuses on the ongoing destruction of Palestinian-owned rainwater storage cisterns by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) in Area C of the West Bank, due to lack of building permits (commonly referred to as “administrative” destructions). The analysis is based on international humanitarian law (IHL) with a human rights perspective. Initially, the brief highlights key legal aspects of the Israeli planning regime in Area C. It elaborates on the special legal status of cisterns, and identifies the scope of prohibition against their destructions under IHL. Lastly, it examines the implications of inadequate planning for and destruction of cisterns on the occupier’s humanitarian and human rights obligations towards the protected Palestinian population, including the delivery of aid in Area C. More >>>
Location: Cayman Islands