This week, Israeli authorities demolished the homes of Palestinian families in the West Bank community of Humsa Al Bqai’a, seizing the structures which provided them shelter and enabled their livelihoods, and displacing over 50 people, including 32 children.
The seizure of structures in this community, which had been erected with humanitarian assistance following previous demolition of the community’s property by Israeli authorities in November, are egregious acts against a vulnerable population.
International Humanitarian Law, and in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibits the unnecessary destruction of private property. I am particularly dismayed that demolitions have continued, and even increased in the last year, despite the commitment made by the Israeli authorities not to target Palestinian residential structures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Demolitions contribute to a coercive living environment for affected Palestinian communities. I am very concerned about an increased risk of effective displacement of civilians. I call on Israel, as the occupying power, to fulfil its obligations towards this community and to cease its harmful practice of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian property.
5 February 2020
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