Lobby update on home demolitions
Humsa Al Bqai’a (Khirbet Hamsa – in Hebrew)
A Bedouin community located in Area C in the north of the Jordan Valley
Current population: approximately 70 of whom 41 are children
The Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) demolished it on 3 November 2020 in the largest mass demolition within the previous ten years. Following it, the European Union, 10 of its member states, and the UK funded the rebuilding of 29 of the structures.
During February 2021, the ICA returned to destroy the community’s housing and structures essential for living. Aid was delivered enabling the residents to remain on their land however the Israeli authorities came back causing more destruction and it confiscated aid that had been provided. The ICA repeated this five times this calendar month. Israeli authorities said that the confiscated items would be handed back if the residents relocated to a new location further to the west, near Tubas.
JCB and Volvo bulldozers were used during the demolitions.
The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
- Calls for Israel to allow full, sustained, and unimpeded humanitarian access to the community in Humsa Al-Bqai’a
- States that forced displacement is a crime under international law (4th Geneva Convention)
The Jordan Valley is home to approximately 60,000 Palestinians, but nearly 90 percent of the land here is in Area C thus under complete Israeli control.
It includes closed military zones and about 50 agricultural settlements housing some 12,000 Israelis, illegal under international law.
According to OCHA, so far in 2021 within the West Bank, Israeli authorities have demolished, seized, or forced people to demolish at least 227 Palestinian-owned structures, including 93 that were donor-funded, displacing 367 people, including some 200 children. This represents a near 185 per cent increase in structures targeted and a near 450 per cent increase in donor-funded structures targeted, compared with the equivalent period in 2020.
Palestinians living in rural areas are also dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Bedouin communities are among the most economically vulnerable within historic Palestine. The repeated demolitions of their homes and property, including assistance provided by the international humanitarian community is having a devastating economic, social, and traumatic impact.
This is yet another demonstration of Israel’s settler colonial policy which is to clear as much land as possible of the indigenous Palestinian population, claiming it for Israel.
Israel is not responding to governments issuing statements of “deep concern”. Action must be taken to hold Israel accountable, including imposition of sanctions and to cease trading in goods from the illegal settlements.
ICAHD continues to call for one democratic state to be established as the only just way ahead. In the meantime, demolitions and displacement must end immediately.