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.
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)
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.