The Israeli army demolished the homes of nearly 80 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.Eighteen tents that housed 11 families in the northern village of Khirbet Humsa were razed on Tuesday evening.
A total of 74 people were displaced, more than half of whom were minors, according to B’Tselem, an Israeli anti-occupation non-governmental organization.
Bulldozers and diggers also demolished sheds used as cattle pens, portable toilets, water containers and solar panels, in addition to confiscating vehicles and tractors belonging to some of the residents.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the international community to intervene against the attempt by Israeli troops to “displace the citizens of Khirbet Humsa and dozens of similar communities from their homes and lands”, stressing that Israel “has chosen this evening to commit another ”. crime ”because attention is focused on the presidential election in the United States.
Abdelghani Awada, left homeless by the operation, told AFP news agency that the Israelis gave people “10 minutes to evacuate our homes.”
“Then they started bulldozing,” he says.
He said his family had lived in the area for generations and accused Israel of trying to “empty the Jordan Valley of its Palestinian population.”
The late night operation was unusual given that so many houses were targeted at the same time, according to B’Tselem.
“Obviously the intention is to force the residents out of the earth by creating a man-made humanitarian catastrophe. But the locals told us they had nowhere to go, ”Sarit Michaeli, international advocacy manager for B’Tselem, said on Twitter, adding that this was the first demolition in seven years. ‘an entire community of shepherds.
The branch of the IDF responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank, COGAT, said it had destroyed structures that had been “illegally built in a shooting zone (military training area) in the Jordan Valley”.
The Jordan Valley is home to around 60,000 Palestinians, according to the UN, but nearly 90 percent of the land is in what’s known as Area C, three-fifths of the West Bank which is under full Israeli control.
It includes closed military zones and around 50 agricultural settlements housing some 12,000 Israelis.
Palestinians are excluded from these areas and the lands they own. They are prohibited from digging wells or constructing any type of infrastructure without a military permit which is difficult to obtain.
From 2009 to 2016, less than 2% of the more than 3,300 permit applications in Area C were successful, according to Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group, citing official statistics.
Anything built without a permit, from house extensions to tents, animal enclosures and irrigation systems, is in danger of being demolished by the IDF.
Nearly 800 Palestinians, including 404 minors, have already lost their homes in 2020.
Throughout the previous year, 677 lost their homes, up from 387 in 2018 and 521 in 2017.