The group said Israel’s actions “increased their concerns” over possible human rights violations that occurred during the demolitions, and said it suspected an attempt by Israeli forces to “conceal illegal activities.” The group called the incident “politically unacceptable,” and noted that the Israeli planning authorities in the region have been dysfunctional for decades. However, the mass demolition campaign on Tuesday was “almost unprecedented.” Despite receiving the demolition orders only a day before the demolitions were carried out, the demolition notices were dated on Dec. 20, a move which the group said was designed to prevent the residents of Qalansawe from appealing the demolition orders. Residents, however, quickly responded to the demolition notices the day before and began legal proceedings against them. But Israeli forces demolished the homes anyway, despite the right of residents to appeal such decisions. The actions of Israeli authorities seem to show that the community would be demolished “no matter what,” the group stated. Amnesty International added that the actions by Israeli authorities raised “alarming questions” regarding Israel’s policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel, noting that residents were forced to deal with unapproved building through paying fines and other administrative means. The decision to conduct the [demolition] operation, despite the failures of planning authorities to approve building plans for the city, raised “concern over the illegal conduct” of Israeli authorities and the “political motives” that appear to be behind the demolitions, the group concluded. The day following the demolitions, Palestinian citizens declared a general strike across Israel, which included protests in dozens of Palestinian-majority towns and at least half a million Palestinians participating in the strike. On Friday, a reported 20,000 Palestinian citizens and supporters took to the streets in Israel to protest against the demolitions, which they claimed was a systematic policy by Israeli authorities to tear apart Palestinian communities in Israel in order to pressure them to leave the region.Middle East Eye quoted an activist and resident of Qalansawe, Mahasen Rabus, as saying that “the demolition of houses is an Israeli political strategy against Palestinians since 1948, and it is part of a policy to desist on Palestinians living in Israel.” "Israeli authorities did not allow us to build or expand, and the issuance of building permits has become an almost impossible task. In addition, they refused to extend the borders of Arab cities, so really we had no other option but to build,” adding that the communities would continue demonstrating so long as such policies continue.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly held meetings
when he instructed officials to “work to issue demolition orders for the illegal structures, located in Arab towns in northern and southern Israel, as well as in eastern Jerusalem,” alluding to a Supreme Court ruling to demolish the illegal Israeli Amona outpost
constructed in the occupied West Bank in violation of both Israeli and international law.
“There will be no double standards regarding construction,” Israeli media quoted Netanyahu as saying. “There will be equal enforcement of the law in Israel for both Jews and Arabs.”
Earlier in December, Netanyahu commented on the Supreme Court-ordered demolition of Amona by assuring the soon-to-be displaced settlers that he would commit to “enforcing laws” on “illegal construction” in Israel, referring primarily to Palestinian communities that are forced to build without Israeli-issued building permits.
According to Palestinian NGO Adalah, only 4.6 percent of the housing tenders published by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) in 2015 were dedicated to Palestinian communities in Israel, although the population comprises 20 percent of the population.
The Palestinian population in Israel requires 13,000 new housing units per year, yet in practice only 7,000 housing units are built, mostly by means of private, self-construction, according to the group.
“As a result of the government's widespread failure to authorize a sufficient number of building permits in Arab communities, the phenomenon of ‘illegal’ home construction is widespread as residents seek to house expanding populations,” Adalah had said.
“The housing shortage in Arab communities in Israel is not the result of specific failures or unintentional neglect on the part of state authorities. It is instead the product of a systematic and deliberate policy since 1948 that has viewed Palestinian citizens as enemies and aliens.”