Eighty-four Palestinians, including 53 children and 14 women, lost their homes on 14 July, when Israeli forces demolished at least 49 structures in the herding community of Ras al-Tin, near Ramallah, and an additional eight people, including six children, were displaced when on 15 July, Israeli occupation forces dismantled and confiscated their residential structure in Humsa al-Bqai’a in the northern Jordan Valley, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory.
In Ras al-Tin, a Bedouin community, which relies on herding, those displaced belong to 13 Palestinian families. They have stayed in the community but are now at heightened risk of forcible transfer, said OCHA.
The structures included homes, animal shelters, and solar power systems. Other items, including water tanks, tractors with trailers, and animal fodder were also confiscated by the Israeli forces, with some being reportedly heavily damaged in the process. According to the community members, Israeli officials ordered the community, which is in Area C of the West Bank that falls under full Israeli military control, to move to Area B, which is administered by the Palestinian Authority but under Israeli security control.
In Humsa al-Bqai’a, another herding community, the demolished structure had been installed outside the Israeli-declared ‘firing zone’, to accommodate the family of eight, including six children, who had lost their previous home in last week’s mass demolition inside the ‘firing zone.’
So far in 2021, the Israeli authorities have demolished, seized, or forced people to demolish at least 474 Palestinian-owned structures, including 150 donor-funded ones, displacing 656 people, including 359 children, across the West Bank. This represents a 32 percent increase in the number of structures demolished or seized, over 145 percent increase in donor-funded structures, and a near 70 percent increase in the number of people displaced, with a near 75 percent increase in children, compared with the equivalent period in 2020.
The Palestinian community of Ras al-Tin is said to have been established since decades and is in Area C of the Ramallah governorate. As a Bedouin community, which relies on herding, it moves seasonally: while their winter location is in an Israeli-declared ‘firing zone,’ where residency and civilian access are officially banned, their current summer location, where the confiscation took place, is outside the ‘firing zone.’
In 2015, the Israeli authorities demolished two homes and two sheep shelters in Ras al-Tin, displacing two families comprising 11 people, including seven children, and affecting the livelihood of others. In September 2020, Israeli authorities demolished twice a ceiling used for the community’s sole school, the construction of which had started the month before, and confiscated tables, chairs, and building material. These incidents affected about 50 children.
In December 2020, the Israeli authorities confiscated an animal shelter in the community, affecting the livelihood of a Palestinian family of four, including a child.
In response to the mass demolition/confiscation incident in Humsa al-Bqai’a, of 7 July, the international community reiterated its support for the residents of communities affected by demolitions and confiscations in the West Bank. On 9 July, Lynn Hastings, the Humanitarian Coordinator, stated that “the Israeli authorities should immediately halt all further demolitions of Palestinian homes and possessions, allow the humanitarian community to provide shelter, food, and water to this most vulnerable community and let these people rebuild their homes in their current location and stay there in safety and dignity.”