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Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to a complex system of control, including physical (the Barrier, checkpoints, roadblocks) and bureaucratic barriers (permits, closure of areas) which restrict their right to freedom of movement. The expansion of Settlements, restrictions on access to land and natural resources and ongoing displacement due to demolitions in particular, are ongoing. Israeli policies curtail the ability of Palestinians in Area C and East Jerusalem to plan their communities and build homes and infrastructure. The result is further fragmentation of the West Bank. Ongoing violent incidents throughout the West Bank pose risks to life, liberty and security, and – security considerations notwithstanding – concerns exist over reports of excessive use of force by Israeli forces.
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
In a number of separate rulings issued in recent months, Israeli courts ordered the eviction of a large number of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, and the handover of the properties to Israeli settler organizations. (See Recent eviction rulings in East Jerusalem, below).
“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.