UN condemns Israel’s repeated demolition of Palestinian Bedouin property
This is also available in: العربية (Arabic) متوفر ايضا باللغة
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva, 13 July 2021
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, condemned Israel’s demolition of homes and properties of the Palestinian Bedouin community in Humsa al-Baqai’a, in the northern Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank.
The people were left without shelter or food:
A statement issued by the Media Center of the Human Rights Council in Geneva stated that on July 7, the (Israeli) Civil Administration – the arm of the Israeli Defense Forces that administers the occupation of the West Bank -, accompanied by the military forces, demolished 27 residential shelters, animal buildings and water tanks, and confiscated community property.
The statement indicated that according to the reports received, 11 families, comprising about 70 people, including 35 children, were displaced, and food, water and clothing were also confiscated, leaving the community without shelter or food in the summer heat of the Jordan Valley.
The UN rapporteur stated that the community appears to be at a high risk of forcible transfer, adding: “This demolition is both unlawful and heartless”. “As the occupying power, Israel is strictly forbidden from destroying Palestinian property unless it is absolutely required by military necessity during active armed operations. The forcible transfer of the inhabitants of Humsa al-Baqai’a is also strictly prohibited as a grave breach and a potential war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention,” he stressed.
“Humsa al-Baqai’a is one of a number of Palestinian herding communities in the Jordan Valley. These communities are extremely vulnerable, both because they have limited access to water, sanitation, education and electrical power, and because the Israeli military has seized large swaths of their traditional lands for military firing zones,” the expert added.
Protection of settlements in order to annex the West Bank lands:
The UN rapporteur noted that, in contrast, the illegal Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley have not been disturbed by the army, and that this gradual seizure of Palestinian land, along with the protection of the settlements, is a further reinforcement of Israel’s de facto annexation of the West Bank.
“The discriminatory Israeli planning regime in the occupied Palestinian territory results in a coercive atmosphere, where property demolitions, or the threat of demolitions, drives Palestinians away from their homes, lands and livelihoods,” Lynk said.
The UN rapporteur called on Israel to immediately halt the demolitions of property in the occupied territories, to ensure that its actions strictly comply with its international humanitarian and human rights obligations and to provide protection to the protected population rather than its displacement.
Lynk also appealed to the international community to take meaningful accountability measures to ensure Israel’s compliance with its legal obligations.
“Criticism without consequences has rarely reversed illegal Israeli conduct in the past. Accountability has to rise to the top of the international community’s agenda. Only by imposing an escalating cost to Israel’s illegal occupation will there be the prospect that these injustices will end,” he said.