The Arab Thought Forum (ATF) is committed to the belief that state structures must be developed to serve and be responsive to an active and critical public, which is conscious of its obligations and duties, as well as its rights and entitlements
The Arab Thought Forum views with grave concern the Israeli military s policy of targeting houses for demolition and the deliberate shelling of residential areas. This policy not only undermines the basic right to housing and property, but exposes the victims to a situation where there is no clarity within the Palestinian legal system as to compensation procedures or how to deal with the damages incurred. The ATF pursued this matter through a number of activities within a work plan that involved the following measures: ¢ Preparing a database based on a survey of all buildings shelled or demolished as a result of Israeli military action. The information included the amount of damage in each district affected. ¢ Holding a number of meetings with relevant official parties in order to construct a clear picture of the problem and provide suggestions to deal with the matter. ¢ Issuing a report on the needs of those who have suffered as result of their house or property being damaged or destroyed by the aggressive actions of the Israeli military. ¢ Drafting a bill to regulate a fund that would provide compensation for the victims of house demolitions. ¢ Holding a workshop to discuss the report and the bill. As a result, a task force consisting of civil and official representatives was formed to follow up on recommendations made. The concerted efforts undertaken by the project in 2002 underlined the need to lobby the PLC to ensure it acts as the body responsible for compensating the victims. However, this does not preclude the Israel s responsibility for the damages incurred and the right to claim compensation.