Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lynn Hastings, said on Tuesday that Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Hamsa al-Bqai’a “raises a real risk of forcible transfer.”
In a statement, Hastings said, “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.”
He called on the Israeli authorities to immediately halt all further demolitions of Palestinian homes and possessions.
Hastings also said ‘Israel’ should allow the humanitarian community to provide shelter, food and water to this most vulnerable group and these people to remain in their homes.
He stated that his call came in accordance with international law.
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.
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).