A whole community at risk of displacement in Masafer Yatta

On 7 June 2022, the Israeli authorities issued demolition orders for all seven homes and most livelihood structures in the Khirbet at Tabban community of Masafer Yatta, southern West Bank, providing residents with three days to take legal action.

If this demolition goes ahead, the entire community, comprising 23 children and 16 adults, would be displaced. In addition, two of their livelihood structures, three water cisterns and one communal solar system will be demolished. Many of these structures have been donated as humanitarian assistance.

A recent Israeli court ruling sanctioned the planned eviction of over 1,000 Palestinians, including 500 children, from Masafer Yatta to make way for military training. The authorities had designated this area as “Firing Zone 918.”

The planned demolition places the whole community at an increased risk of forcible transfer, which is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and a possible war crime.

Lawyers and humanitarian organizations, including OCHA, have been working to prevent the planned demolitions. OCHA has also engaged humanitarian partners to ensure that sufficient capacity exists for a rapid response to people's humanitarian needs, if the demolition occurs.

Residents of Massafer Yatta following a previous demolitions. Photo by OCHA
Residents of Massafer Yatta following a previous demolitions. Photo by OCHA

On 1 June, dozens of Palestinians lost their homes in the adjacent Khirbet al Fakhiet and Mirkez communities. For some of them, it was the third time they had lost a home in less than a year, as the Israeli authorities do not allow the installation of alternative shelters following demolitions.