In early July 2022, 19 Palestinian households comprising about 100 people, mostly children, left their herding community of Ras a Tin, in Area C of the West Bank, with most of them relocating to Area B. Some of them explained that they moved because their living conditions had become intolerable, citing occupation-related coercive measures imposed on them by the Israeli authorities and by Israeli settlers.
On the eve of their departure, the whole community comprised about 35 households in total, including 240 people, of whom 150 are children. Their dwellings were in five separate, adjacent locations. While they rely mostly on herding, and therefore move seasonally, initial assessments indicate that the most recent relocation of the 19 households is largely a result of an accumulation of settler violence, demolitions, harassment and other coercive measures, rather than part of their seasonal movement pattern.
On 14 July 2021, when Israeli forces confiscated 49 structures in the community, it left 13 of the families homeless. At that time, community members reported that Israeli officials had explicitly ordered them to move into Area B.
One of the residents, Huda Ibrahim, explained the psychological impact of the mass demolition on her daughter. “When the Israeli forces came to take our homes,” she said, “Sara got really scared. She was crying all the time. Now, she’s afraid of cars. Whenever she sees cars, she’s scared. She never had this issue before.”
OCHA has documented in detail the coercive practices that put pressure on people to leave certain areas. Among these practices are the demolition or seizure of homes and livelihood materials, excessive use of force by the Israeli military, settlement expansion, physical assaults, and vandalism. Such practices in Ras a Tin, including a recent arson attack, have resulted in physical injuries, psychological harm, and loss of livelihoods.
Shortly after these incidents, humanitarian actors visit the affected families to assess their needs and provide response.
However, what people more urgently need is protection. To that end, OCHA advocates a halt to demolitions and confiscations, an equitable planning and zoning regime for Palestinian communities, and accountability for violent settlers and members of Israeli forces who have used excessive force; alongside other policy shifts.
Ras a Tin is one of multiple communities across the West Bank, particularly in Area C, where the humanitarian community has warned of a coercive environment that may result in forcible transfer.