Heads of Mission and representatives from the EU, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, visited the Humsa Al Bqai’a community near Tubas in the Jordan Valley. This visit comes two days after Israeli forces demolished more than eighty structures in the community.
Three-quarters of the community’s population, including 41 children, lost their homes, making this the largest forcible transfer incident in the last ten years in Area C of the West Bank.
The diplomats met residents as well as representatives of civil society organizations active in the community. Local residents briefed the diplomats on the demolition of 84 structures, including residential, livelihood, and sanitation facilities, by Israeli forces.
This is the largest single demolition in the past decade in Area C of the West Bank. As a result of this massive demolition, 11 Palestinian families with 41 children have been left homeless. This is particularly worrying as we are now moving into the winter season amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the demolished structures were funded by the EU, its member states, and other donor countries.
“This large-scale demolition confirms the worrying and detrimental trend of demolitions, evictions, and confiscations since the beginning of the year.
The devastating impact is particularly harsh on children, women, and families, in clear violation of international law and basic human rights.
Such actions not only are in breach of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power. They also put into question Israel’s commitment towards the two-state solution,” said the European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff. “In line with the EU’s long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions are taken in that context, such as forcible transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU, again, urges the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions of Palestinian structures.
The EU has repeatedly called for the restitution or compensation of EU-funded humanitarian assets which have been demolished, dismantled, or confiscated by Israel,” he added.
This new demolition comes at a time when a number of other communities are facing the threat of eviction and demolition orders, including the Palestinian school in the Ras Al-Teen community in the central West Bank, which was co-funded by the EU, UK, and other donor countries.
There are currently 52 Palestinian schools under threat of demolition. As reiterated in previous EU Council Conclusions, the EU, and likeminded countries call for the protection of children, including ensuring their right to education in a safe and secure school environment. Education is a basic human right that should be protected and maintained.
The EU and like-minded countries urge Israel to halt demolitions of Palestinian property. The continuation of this policy violates international law, undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for lasting peace in the region.