Feature: Palestinian Bedouin community in West Bank rendered homeless after forced Israeli demolition

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 17, 2021
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by Sanaa Kamal

RAMALLAH, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Residents of the Bedouin community of al-Quboun in the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah have been sleeping in the open since Wednesday when the Israeli authorities demolished their tent homes and confiscated all their possessions, including the necessities of life.

"There are 13 families that have lost all their belongings, including water tanks and agricultural tractors," said Omar Kaabneh, a resident of the community where about 120 people have lived for decades.

"We have nowhere to go," the man in his 40s added.

Sitting in the hot sun with his children after his tent was dismantled, Kaabneh complained that the Israeli forces had neither notified them of the demolition nor given them any opportunity to take their belongings.

"My 10-member family and I have no roof over our heads now ... My youngest baby is only 18-month-old," he said bitterly.

According to official Palestinian institutions, Israel is displacing Bedouin communities north and east of Ramallah for the completion of the settlement strip along the eastern belt of the West Bank. Israeli officials did not comment on the demolition.

Abdullah Abu Rahma, director-general of the Popular Action Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Committee for Resisting the Wall and Settlement, said the demolition in the Bedouin community is "a green light for settlers to expand settlement outposts."

The expansion policy is part of a systematic Israeli process to annex the Jordan Valley, noted Abu Rahma.

The demolition came just hours after the European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah called on Israel to stop all such acts in the Palestinian territories.

A joint statement issued on Wednesday night by the EU missions said it is tragic that in 2021 Israel displaced 595 Palestinians, including 320 children, in the occupied Palestinian territories, an increase of 50 percent compared to last year.

According to a recent report issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Israeli authorities have demolished or confiscated at least 421 Palestinian structures in the West Bank since the beginning of this year, including 130 funded by donor countries.

Israeli authorities usually justify demolitions with a lack of building permits, while Palestinians complain that they cannot obtain such permits because of "the restrictive and discriminatory planning system."

Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed al-Shalaldeh said the Israeli demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are "collective punishment that affects all family members and deprives them of their right to life, housing and living in dignity."

"The daily Israeli practices constitute a flagrant violation of the rules of international law and international humanitarian law, and are a war crime according to the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)," the minister told Xinhua.

Shalaldeh accused Israel of trying to "impose a fait accompli on the ground by displacing citizens and carrying out demolitions, whether in the West Bank or occupied East Jerusalem."

He called on the international community, the United Nations and the ICC to prosecute Israel, a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians.

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The settlement issue, the most prominent aspect of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is a major reason that the last peace negotiations between the two sides broke down in mid-2014. Enditem

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