JCB’s complicity in Israeli war crimes: 2020 statistics

For the third year in a row, we have collated statistics from every demolition, confiscation, destruction of water pipes or razing of land that Israeli forces carried out in 2020. We have analysed each incident (such as a house demolition, the razing of a field, or the breaking of water pipes) and we have searched for photographic or video evidence of the type of bulldozer (such as JCB) that has been used.

We found that:

The total number of people displaced or affected by JCB machines in 2020 was at least 1,385.

JCB bulldozers were used to displace at least 278 people, including 160 children: more than any other type of bulldozer.

JCB bulldozers destroyed at least 191 structures.

JCB equipment destroyed at least 33 water tanks, cisterns, reservoirs or irrigation networks, including at least 3.7km of water pipes, cutting Palestinian people off from the water they need to survive.

JCB bulldozers were used in the demolition of the village of Khirbet al-Humsa, Israel’s largest demolition in the West Bank for a decade.

They were also used to dig up the graves of an old Muslim cemetery in Jaffa. Israel is using the land to build a commercial centre and homeless shelter.

A JCB bulldozer also demolished the staircase to the cemetery leading to Al-Aqsa mosque in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

JCB bulldozers were used to uproot olive trees to build a settler bypass road. The apartheid road will uproot more than 2,800 olive trees and steal land from 7 villages south of Nablus.

The table below shows the number of demolitions of Palestinian structures, farmland or trees where we could prove 100% that JCB machines were used.

Homes or parts of homes64
Work structures17
Agricultural structures11
Animal structures60
Latrines25
Other structures14
Water tanks/cisterns/reservoirs/irrigation networks33, including at least 3.7km of water pipes
Cemetery or part of cemetery2
Fruit/olive tree plantation2
Archeological rocks1
Wall or fence1
Solar panel system3
Razing of land2

How we compiled our data

We compiled our data by partnering with Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and using its monthly Demolition & Displacement Reports. We painstakingly searched the internet for photo/video evidence of which bulldozer was used for each demolition/razing of land/chopping down of trees.

For at least half of demolitions, we could not be 100% sure of the bulldozer used, and therefore these demolitions are not included in our final figures. This is because many news agencies and social media users upload stock photos or random photos of demolitions when reporting on a specific incident. If we were uncertain whether a photo was a stock photo, we did not include it in our results.

We used ICAHD’s statistics to record the number of people displaced/affected in each incident, and then added them up to make a total. If ICAHD didn’t record the number of people displaced or affected in an incident, we conservatively counted just one person as being affected.

We also recorded incidents that were not on ICAHD’s list, such as the razing of people’s land, the blocking of a road, and the destruction of fruit trees. If there was no reliable figure for the number of people affected, we conservatively estimated one person, even for a road closure that would affect whole villages. The real number of people affected by each company’s equipment is, in reality, much higher.

You can view our spreadsheet breakdown of every single incident here. You can view our month-by-month summary here.

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