Photo: Youth of Sumud - Al-Wadi Al Ahmar, Jordan Valley, 28th January 2021
On Friday, 29th January, our Demolition Update on ICAHD’s Facebook pages announced that 23 structures had been demolished, which displaced seven people (making them homeless) and with another 542 Palestinians lives affected during just two days of demolitions in the West Bank.
On 26 January, 2021, Israeli authorities confiscated a residential structure in Hammamat al Maleh, Tubas, displacing a family of seven, including four children; In Hammamat al Maleh- al Burj, Tubas, nine agricultural structures were confiscated, affecting 46 people, including 25 children, from five families; On 27 January 2021, in Khan al Ahmar-abu Falah, Jerusalem, an agricultural structure was confiscated affecting a family of six, including two children; In Bir al Maskoob, Jerusalem, an agricultural structure was confiscated, affecting a family of two; In Ar Rakeez, Hebron, a mobile latrine unit was confiscated, affecting a family of five, including three children; In Umm Qussa, Hebron, an under-construction mosque and a water cistern were demolished. During the demolition, the village's water network was severely damaged, cutting off half the village from its water supply. The demolition affected 450 people from 60 families; In Al Isawiya, Jerusalem, an agricultural structure was confiscated, affecting a family of seven, including five children; In At Taybe, Hebron, four agricultural structures and a latrine unit were demolished, affecting 22 people, including nine children, from four families; In Al Muntar, Jerusalem, an agricultural structure was confiscated affecting a family of four.
Put this into the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that continues to spread with the Israeli government still refusing to start a vaccination programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israel as the occupying power is obligated under the Fourth Geneva Convention to look after the health needs of the population who reside on the land it occupies. On 25th January, Israeli authorities issued a demolition order to the health clinic at Zanouta, a Palestinian village south of Hebron which has elicited yet more outrage and is another demonstration that Israel displays nothing but contempt for the Palestinian people. Israel must be called to account. These demolitions must end.
ICAHD UK Campaign Activity
The planned photo-op shot with the new banner to stop demolitions that was to happen outside of the National Society for Prevention of Children (NSPCC) head office had to be postponed due to the UK going into its third lockdown. We await the opportunity to resume demonstrations outside of NSPCC offices and JCB dealerships when public gatherings are safe.
More than 70 signatures have been gained from professionals who work with children for a letter that is ready to be sent to the Guardian at an opportune moment. It challenges the NSPCC concerning the funding it receives from JCB whose bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes affecting the lives of Palestinian children.
We have discovered that the Financial Times (FT) is raising money for NSPCC. ICAHD UK members have begun writing to the FT informing it of NSPCC’s relationship to JCB. The NSPCC has been asked if considering support for it that is now coming from the FT, will it drop taking tarnished money from JCB.
Within British parliament, calls continue for JCB to be held to account as identified by the UN’s Human Rights Office as a British company that has violated the Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights because of its use in the Occupied Territory. The most recent challenge came from Janet Daby, Labour, Lewisham East, in her question submitted on 19th January.
Recently some of our members were part of a small group that met via Zoom with their MP Jeremy Hunt. Examples of Palestinian suffering were explained, and he was presented with ICAHD’s statistics on demolitions and an update about JCB’s ongoing involvement in destruction, building on information that had been supplied to him previously. Hunt’s repeated response is that the UK should be “…encouraging both sides to maintain calm and avoid taking actions which would make peace more difficult to achieve”. The lobbyists felt as if they made no progress, nevertheless following the meeting they sent a letter to Hunt challenging some of the statements that he’d made and provided suggestions on how he could gain more appreciation of the reality for Palestinians.
MPs need to know the issues that constituents care about. Lobbying parliamentarians is not easy however no matter how discouraging, we must maintain the pressure because only then will they start to do the right thing. MPs must be reminded that the British government as a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention therefore it is obligated to call Israel to account for its violations of international law.
To learn more about our campaigns and for guidance on lobbying your political representatives, see this page. If you would like to participate in our campaigns, please write to email@example.com and you will be directed to those from our Executive Committee who have specific responsibility for these campaigns.