Confirmation of the mass demolition and confiscation of properties by Israeli forces in the Palestinian community of Humsa – Al Bqai’a in the northern West Bank on Tuesday this week is disturbing.
Throughout the demolition, Israeli forces blocked access of humanitarian personnel to the families. When they managed to access the community after the demolition, they found tents, food, water tanks and fodder had all been destroyed or confiscated, leaving people – including children - out in the open, in summer heat, with virtually no basic provisions; even milk, diapers, clothes and toys had been taken.
According to ongoing assessments, six families of 42 people, including 24 children have lost their homes, for the sixth time this year. Thirty-eight structures were demolished or confiscated, most alarmingly, water tanks.
Attempts to force this or any other community to relocate to an alternative location raise a serious risk of forcible transfer. While the Israeli authorities have tried to justify this citing their domestic designation of this area for military training, such measures by an occupying power are illegal under international law.
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.