UN experts urge to hold Israeli occupation to account

Geneva (QNN)- UN human rights experts have called on the international community to hold the Israeli occupation to account in response to the demolition and seizure of Palestinian structures in the Bedouin community of Hamsa Al-Bqaia in the northern Jordan Valley.


UN Special Procedures@UN_SPExperts
·#Israel: UN experts say threat to permanently expel inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Humsa – Al Bqai’a in #JordanValley is part of a concerning pattern of forcible removals and home demolitions in occupied #WestBank. It must stop

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“We welcome the support given to the villagers of Humsa by the diplomatic representatives in Palestine and Israel. But much more must be done by their governments to insist upon Israeli accountability, which is the missing key to ending this protracted occupation,” said Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, and Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living.

The UN human rights experts pointed out that “the ongoing destruction by the Israeli military of the homes, and the destruction and seizure of property, including humanitarian assistance, in Humsa has been causing great hardship to the approximately 60 villagers, including 35 children.”

“This is a traditional Bedouin village in occupied territory, which depends upon its traditional homes, its animal herds and its water tanks for shelter, food security and its economic livelihood,” said the experts.

“Severing the villagers from their lands and their homes is particularly punitive given the harsh winter they are experiencing and the ever-present dangers of a global pandemic.”

The experts also said that there are no active military hostilities in the occupied West Bank, and have not been for many years. They said the evictions also violate international human rights prohibitions against the forced removal of civilians from their homes.

UN member states and various non-governmental organizations have provided emergency tents and other forms of property assistance to the villagers after the initial destruction by the Israeli occupation army. Subsequently, at least 42 of the donated humanitarian relief structures have been seized or destroyed by the occupation forces.

Responding to Israeli government’s justification of the attempted destruction of Hamsa on the grounds that it lies within an Israeli military firing zone, the UN experts said, “These justifications by Israel do not satisfy its strict obligations under international law. An occupying power cannot use the territory under occupation to conduct military training operations without ample justification.”

The human rights experts observed that the threat to permanently expel the inhabitants of Humsa was part of a larger worrisome pattern of forcible removals and home demolitions in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli occupation forces demolished Hamsa al-Bqaia community five times this month under the pretext that the area is designated for training and displaced its community with a plan to relocate them to another area.

On 3 November 2020, in the largest forced displacement incident recorded in recent years, 73 people, including 41 children were displaced. The structures demolished were residential, WASH and livestock related, of which 29 structures had been provided as humanitarian assistance.

On 1 February, Israeli occupation forces confiscated 25 structures in Hamsa al-Bqaia on the alleged basis that they lacked an Israeli building permit for construction in Area C.

On 3 February, Israeli occupation forces returned to seize a further 21 structures. Sixty Palestinians have been uprooted from their homes, including 35 children. Structures demolished included 21 homes, 17 livestock shelters, and 8 water and hygiene facilities.

On 8 February, the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by the military, returned to the Palestinian Bedouin community and confiscated or demolished another 16 residential and animal structures. Thirteen were donor-funded and had been provided as a humanitarian response to two incidents on 1 and 3 February.

On 16 February, the occupation forces confiscated five donor-funded livelihood tents, which were being assembled to provide shelter to the community and their livestock.

Since the start of 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities have demolished, seized or forced people to demolish at least 199 Palestinian-owned structures, including 77 donor-funded, displacing 285 people, including some 150 children. This represents an over 200 per cent increase in structures targeted, and an over 500 per cent increase in donor-funded structures targeted, compared to the equivalent period in 2020, according to The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

(Source / 03.03.2021)

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