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Over 60 per cent of the West Bank is considered Area C, where Israel retains near exclusive control, including over law enforcement, planning and construction. Most of Area C has been allocated for the benefit of Israeli settlements or the Israeli military, at the expense of Palestinian communities. This impedes the development of adequate housing, infrastructure and livelihoods in Palestinian communities, and has significant consequences for the entire West Bank population. Structures built without permits are regularly served with demolition orders, creating chronic uncertainty and threat, and encouraging people to leave. Where the orders are implemented, they have resulted in displacement and disruption of livelihoods, the entrenchment of poverty and increased aid dependency. The humanitarian community has faced a range of difficulties in providing aid in Area C, including the demolition and confiscation of assistance by the Israeli authorities.
A Vulnerability Profile of Palestinian communities in Area C is available here.
Articles, statements and press releases
Yesterday, I visited the community of Humsa – Al Baqai’a which is situated some hundreds of metres into a firing zone in the Northern West Bank. In accordance with Israel’s domestic legal process, the homes and belongings of the families living there were demolished or confiscated five times by the Israeli authorities since the beginning of February. Tents, food, water tanks and fodder for their livestock have all been confiscated despite repeated calls by the international community for these actions to stop in accordance with international law. As we have noted previously, situations where communities are put under pressure to move raises a real risk of forcible transfer.
Although no further demolitions or confiscations have occurred in Humsa - Al Bqai’a since the last update on 16 February, the community remains largely unprotected and the response limited. Due to the heavy military presence and fear of further confiscation/ interception, partners continue to deliver residential and animal shelter, fodder and WASH structures outside of the community itself, which is not always being accessed
On 16 February, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) confiscated five donor-funded livelihood tents in the Bedouin community of Humsa – Al Bqai’a, in the northern Jordan Valley. The tents were being assembled to provide shelter to the community and their livestock. Over the first weeks of February the community has had 62 structures demolished in three incidents, leaving 60 people, including 35 children were displaced, placing them now at imminent risk of forcible transfer. On 12 February, Palestinians gathered at Humsa – Al Bqai’a to show solidarity with the community which eventually led to clashes with Israeli forces, resulting in 30 teargas inhalation injuries which were treated on site.
Statement by Sarah Muscroft, Head of OCHA in the occupied Palestinian territory, James Heenan, Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, and Lucia Elmi, UNICEF Special Representative in State of Palestine
“On 17 November, I was driving to pick up my sister when I saw a big bulldozer, and I thought to myself that a demolition will probably take place in one of our neighboring communities”, recalled Radad Dagharme, from Al Farisyia herding community, in the northern Jordan Valley.
Statement by Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick: The period from March to August 2020 saw the demolition or confiscation of 389 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, on average, 65 per month, the highest average destruction rate in four years.