FeaturesIsrael's crimes

Despite severe winter conditions, ‘Israel’ removes Palestinian tents placed as shelters

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces yesterday morning raided Hamsa al-Bqaia in the northern Jordan Valley, removed 12 residential tents which were placed to shelter dozens of residents displaced in the Israeli demolition of their homes, along with tents for livestock and water tanks.

Mutaz Bisharat, an official with the Tubas Governorate, said the occupation forces raided the community yesterday morning and removed donor-funded livelihood tents, as the tents were being assembled to provide shelter to the community and their livestock.

He said the forces seized as well four water tankers and four water tanks.

The Israeli occupation forces demolished Hamsa al-Bqaia community four times this month under the pretext that the area is designated for training and displaced its community with a plan to relocate them to another area.

On 3 November 2020, in the largest forced displacement incident recorded in recent years, 73 people, including 41 children were displaced. The structures demolished were residential, WASH and livestock related, of which 29 structures had been provided as humanitarian assistance.

On 1 February, Israeli occupation forces confiscated 25 structures in Hamsa al-Bqaia on the alleged basis that they lacked an Israeli building permit for construction in Area C.

On 3 February, Israeli occupation forces returned to seize a further 21 structures. Sixty Palestinians have been uprooted from their homes, including 35 children. Structures demolished included 21 homes, 17 livestock shelters, and 8 water and hygiene facilities.

On 8 February, the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by the military, returned to the Palestinian Bedouin community and confiscated or demolished another 16 residential and animal structures. Thirteen were donor-funded and had been provided as a humanitarian response to two incidents on 1 and 3 February.

On 16 February, the occupation forces confiscated five donor-funded livelihood tents, which were being assembled to provide shelter to the community and their livestock.

Also, the community’s vulnerability was compounded by the bad winter conditions this week, and ‘Israel’ continues to confiscate Palestinian tents despite of the severe winter conditions and the outbreak of the pandemic.

Palestinians, however, say the forces training is only an excuse to remove the Palestinians in that area in order to develop it for Israel’s illegal settlement activity.

Conor O’Neill, a researcher with Christian Aid, which works with local partners in the occupied territories, told The Irish Times that the events underscored that Irish policy needed to evolve beyond providing aid and issuing statements of condemnation.

“This kind of thing happens in a context of near total impunity, in which really, really serious breaches of international law are met with strongly worded statements but nothing beyond that,” O’Neill said.

“The question is what is the long-term strategy? Are we going to keep funding houses and schools, see as they are destroyed, and then fund them to be rebuilt?”

Since the start of 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities have demolished, seized or forced people to demolish at least 199 Palestinian-owned structures, including 77 donor-funded, displacing 285 people, including some 150 children. This represents an over 200 per cent increase in structures targeted, and an over 500 per cent increase in donor-funded structures targeted, compared to the equivalent period in 2020, according to The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Back to top button