The policy of demolishing Palestinian homes within the West Bank appears to be an example of Israel establishing a bargaining position when dealing with the international pressure to stop illegal settlement building. By arbitrarily commencing a policy of home demolitions, the Israeli government has given itself bargaining power by which it can trade off some other concession in return for stopping its home demolitions. This may include protecting some of the illegal Israeli settlements.
All Palestinian construction in Israeli controlled ‘area c’ must be approved by Israeli authorities. In practise permission is rarely given. This means that anything built in these areas is subject to arbitrary removal at any time, even without demolition orders. Demolition orders have been in effect for many homes in Yatma for time, but haven’t been acted on since a few demolition orders were carried out several years ago. Recently a radical settler group Regavim has been pressuring the government to carry them out.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is the primary organisation fighting home demolitions, and a good explanation of the issue can be found on their web site.
Pending demolition orders keep Palestinian communities in a state of anxiety, because of the uncertainty about when the orders will be enforced, with the conflict and displacement that results.