Ras al Tin and Humsa – Al Bqai’a | Flash Update #8


  • Eighty-four Palestinians lost their homes on 14 July, when Israeli forces confiscated at least 49 structures in the herding community of Ras al Tin, an initial assessment indicates. Those displaced belong to thirteen Palestinian families, which include 53 children and 14 women. They have stayed in the community but are now at heightened risk of forcible transfer. Ras al Tin is a Bedouin community, which relies on herding, and it has been moving seasonally in the surrounding area for decades.
  • The structures included homes, animal shelters and solar power systems. Other items, including water tanks, tractors with trailers and animal fodder were also confiscated by the Israeli forces, with some being reportedly heavily damaged in the process. According to the community members, Israeli officials ordered the community, which is in Area C of the West Bank, to move to Area B.
  • During the incident, the Israeli authorities denied the access of humanitarian organizations and journalists to the area.
  • On 15 July, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated a residential structure in Humsa – Al Bqai’a in the northern Jordan Valley. The structure had been installed outside the Israeli-declared ‘firing zone’, to accommodate a family of eight, including six children, who had lost their previous home in last week’s mass demolition inside the ‘firing zone.’ While the Israeli authorities still forbid any shelter assistance in the community, no other cases of humanitarian access denial have been reported since 13 July. 
  • So far in 2021, the Israeli authorities have demolished, seized or forced people to demolish at least 474 Palestinian-owned structures, including 150 donor-funded ones, displacing 656 people, including 359 children, across the West Bank. This represents a 32 per cent increase in number of structures demolished or seized, over 145 per cent increase in donor-funded structures, and a near 70 per cent increase in the number of people displaced, with a near 75 per cent increase in children, compared with the equivalent period in 2020.

Children from Ras al Tin following the confiscation of their homes, water tanks and livelihood structures by Israeli forces, 14 July 2021. Photo by OCHA
Children from Ras al Tin following the confiscation of their homes, water tanks and livelihood structures by Israeli forces, 14 July 2021. Photo by OCHA

For more information on the humanitarian situation in Humsa - Al Bqai’a, please see the previous seven Flash Updates. For background and data on demolitions and displacement, please see the monthly demolition reports and the demolition data page.

Situation overview

The Palestinian community of Ras al Tin is said to have been established since decades, and is in Area C of the Ramallah governorate. As a Bedouin community, which relies on herding, it moves seasonally: while their winter location is in an Israeli-declared ‘firing zone,’ where residency and civilian access are officially banned, their current summer location, where the confiscation took place, is outside the ‘firing zone.’

In 2015, the Israeli authorities demolished two homes and two sheep shelters in Ras al Tin, displacing two families comprising 11 people, including seven children, and affecting the livelihood of others. In September 2020, Israeli authorities demolished twice a ceiling used for the community’s sole school, the construction of which had started the month before, and confiscated tables, chairs and building material. These incidents affected about 50 children.

In December 2020, the Israeli authorities confiscated an animal shelter in the community, affecting the livelihood of a Palestinian family of four, including a child.

In response to the mass demolition/confiscation incident in Humsa – Al Bqai’a, of 7 July 2021, the international community reiterated its support for the residents of communities affected by demolitions and confiscations in the West Bank. On 9 July, Lynn Hastings, the Humanitarian Coordinator, stated that “the Israeli authorities should immediately halt all further demolitions of Palestinian homes and possessions, allow the humanitarian community to provide shelter, food and water to this most vulnerable community and let these people rebuild their homes in their current location and stay there in safety and dignity.”

Humanitarian response & ongoing needs (Ras al Tin)


  • Partners have started providing mental health and psychological support to the displaced people, with dedicated sessions for parents, women and children.


  • While people need shelter assistance, the installation of new structures is likely to result in additional confiscations by the Israeli authorities. The community has requested to be supported in cash, and partners are ready to intervene.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

  • Partners are ready to provide the community with water for people and livestock, as well as with hygiene kits.

Food Security

  • People need fodder and shelter for the livestock.

Demolitions, displacement and the risk of forcible transfer

International humanitarian law (IHL) requires an occupying power to protect the population of the territory that it occupies, ensure its welfare and wellbeing, as well as the respect for its human rights. Any destruction of civilian property by the occupying power is prohibited, except when rendered absolutely necessary by military operations, which is not relevant in the West Bank where there are currently no active hostilities. The extensive demolition of property is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and may amount to a war crime. Other than for the security of the population or imperative military reasons, IHL further prohibits the transfer of the population of an occupied territory without the genuinely and fully informed consent of the affected people, regardless of the motive. Consent is not considered genuine in an environment marked by the use, or threat, of physical force, coercion, fear of violence or duress. In the absence of such consent, the transfer is forcible and constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.