The Rule of Law Ends at the Border

Palestinian residents of Rafah try to collect their belongings after Israeli bulldozers destroyed their homes (PCHR)


This morning’s ruling of Israel’s High Court of Justice allows the IDF to continue its mass house demolitions in Rafah, and gives the IDF full discretion as to when to allow a court hearing prior to demolition.

In issuing this ruling, the Court has shirked its obligation to balance security considerations with the rights of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the hostilities.

When addressing events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Court consistently disregards its obligations regarding human rights and international law, and uncritically adopts the position of the security establishment.

Since the beginning of the Intifada, the IDF has demolished some 1,800 homes in the Rafah Refugee Camp. Since the beginning of 2004 alone, 284 homes have been demolished in Rafah, leaving 2,185 Palestinians homeless. House demolition on such a massive scale cannot be justified as “urgent military need.”

B’Tselem calls on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to immediately cancel the plans for further demolitions, discussed by Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon in this morning’s cabinet meeting. In addition, the organization calls on the Israeli government to compensate families who lost their homes and to provide them with alternative housing.

More Information

  • Investigation of the IDF Action in Rafah, B’Tselem (15 May 2004)
  • Background on Israel’s demolitions in the Gaza Strip, B’Tselem (updated)

    Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Israel’s “Operation Rainbow” in Rafah, Gaza