The UN describes the demolition of the Khirbet Humsa community as “the largest forced displacement case in over four years.”
Israel’s Coordinator for Government Operations in the Territories (COGAT), which manages the occupied West Bank, says 7 tents and 8 pens have been destroyed because they were illegally built in one firing area in the Jordan Valley.
“We will note that enforcement was carried out according to the authorities and procedures, and is subject to operational considerations,” COGAT said in a statement.
Harbi Abu Al-Kabsh, 47, a Palestinian, said villagers were not warned of the impending demolition. “They never told us they were going to demolish until we saw them coming on the bulldozer,”; he told CNN. “They didn’t even give us a chance to take our assets.”
Al-Kabsh promised to rebuild his house on the spot, defying years of legal warfare over the fate of his community and immediate challenge as winter rains strike.
“My cousin’s wife gave birth two days ago and she was outside in the rain. I’m buying some rain covers to try and protect the kids,” he said.
An observer from the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Office (OCHA) who spoke to CNN said the Israeli military also leveled two solar panels and seized a tractor and a private vehicle.
Yvonne Helle, a senior official of the United Nations Development Program in the Palestinian Territories, criticized COGAT’s rationale for dismantling the structures, some of which have been donated as human aid. religion. “The lack of building permits issued by Israel is often seen as a reason, although due to the limited and discriminatory planning regime, Palestinians almost never get such permits. Unloading is a major vehicle to create an environment designed to force Palestinians away from their homes. “
According to the UN, Israel undertook mass demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2020, leaving 869 Palestinians homeless, the largest number since 2016.
“I remind all parties that the widespread destruction of property and the forced transfer of protected persons in an occupied territory are a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. that the humanitarian community is ready to assist all those who have been displaced or affected. “I strongly reiterate our call to Israel to immediately stop illegal demolition,” Helle said. .