Rights group censures Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes as “ethnic cleansing”
Human rights center has censured Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and displacement of the inhabitants as “ethnic cleansing.”
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“The operation was conducted under the Israeli annexation and settlement-expansion schemes, which can only be described as an act of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population,” the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said in a report on Thursday.
Late on Tuesday, the Israeli regime’s bulldozers, heavily guarded by soldiers, razed to the ground a Bedouin village in the vicinity of Tubas in the Jordan Valley, leaving homeless dozens of inhabitants of the village, half of whom were children.
The bulldozers proceeded to demolish 70 civilian properties, including storerooms and residential tents that sheltered 11 families composed of 60 persons, mostly children, PCHR said.
Some sources earlier said that the Israeli demolition of the village displaced 73 villagers, including 41 children.
According to the report, the tented homes, animal shelters, latrines, and solar panels were among the structures that had been razed in the area.
The demolitions were preceded by the confiscation of several Palestinian vehicles and other possessions. The Israeli soldiers also raided Palestinian homes in the area and confiscated money and precious items from local residents.
On Wednesday, the displaced families were seen trying to salvage their belongings from the wreckage in the freezing rain.
A Palestinian aid group has provided tents as temporary shelter for those who lost their homes, but residents said they were not sufficient for the village's families, including children. They said villagers were now sleeping on the rubble of their destroyed shacks.
PCHR has called on the international community and UN bodies to uphold their legal and moral duties and to urgently intervene to curb Israel’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinians.
The European Union on Thursday called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes and buildings in the occupied West Bank and withdraw its threat to demolish Palestinian schools, slamming the move as “an impediment toward the two-state solution.”
“This large-scale demolition confirms once again the regrettable trend of confiscations and demolitions since the beginning of the year,” said a statement issued by the spokesman for EU Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
It said the occupying regime had threatened to demolish 52 Palestinian schools, including one in Ras al-Teen in the West Bank, adding that the school had been constructed jointly by the European bloc and its member states.
Data by the United Nations’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows that Tuesday’s demolition is second only in scale to a clearing that took place in al-Farisiya Ihmayyer in the northern Jordan Valley on July 19, 2010. The last time such a large group of people was displaced was in March 2016.
Separately, OCHA’s humanitarian coordinator Yvonne Helle on Thursday called on Israel to halt unlawful demolitions.
“Their vulnerability is further compounded by the onset of winter and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “Some of the demolished structures had been donated as humanitarian assistance.”
OCHA) has said there has been a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian houses being demolished by Israel in the occupied West Bank during the coronavirus pandemic.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories Jamie McGoldrick has recently warned that the trend would make the Palestinians more susceptible to health risks.
Israeli authorities demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank usually claiming that the structures have been built without permits. They also sometimes order the Palestinian owners to tear down their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
Palestinians reject Trump’s so-called peace proposal as it awards the Israeli regime nearly all the occupied land on which it has built its illegal settlements.
Dubbed the “Deal of the Century,” the blueprint effectively grants the Israeli regime a green light to annex even the most isolated settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.