The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
On Monday morning, 01 February 2021, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) carried out a large-scale demolition operation against civilian properties in Hemsa al-Foqa area in the northern Jordan valleys, eastern Tubas. Twenty-eight homes and facilities were demolished, displacing 85 Palestinians, including 45 children) in the operation. These demolitions are part of an accelerated campaign by IOF to demolish and destroy Palestinians’ homes and properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under the Israeli annexation and settlement-expansion schemes in what can only be considered an act of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Palestinian population.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 08:45 on Monday, IOF accompanied by Israeli Civil Administration SUVs and construction vehicles, moved into Kherbet Hemsa al-Foqa in the northern Jordan valleys, eastern Tubas. Immediately, workers accompanying IOF proceeded to demolish and dismantle civilian homes and sheep barns, loaded them onto their trucks and confiscated their contents. The demolition included 14 residential tents, 7 tents and 5 barracks for cattle; the destroyed structures belonged to 11 families (85 civilians, including 45 children) who were rendered homeless. IOF told the affected area’s residents to accompany them to be transferred to Ein Shibley area, west of Al-Hamra checkpoint in the central Jordan valleys; however, they refused to leave the area. IOF threatened the residents that they would return the following day and expel them from Hemsa al-Foqa. It should be noted that on 03 November 2020, IOF conducted a wide-scale demolition campaign in the same area, that included the demolition of 70 homes and facilities and displacing 60 Palestinians (mostly children).
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemns the Israeli demolitions and confiscation of Palestinian properties and warns against the threat of the continued Israeli attempts to displace Palestinians and oust them from their lands by destroying their houses and confiscating/demolishing their properties. This is an Israeli systematic policy to impose a fait accompli to enforce its control and sovereignty on parts of the West Bank.
PCHR recalls that Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons ..” unless “the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.” Additionally, Article 7.1.d of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court stipulates that “Deportation or forcible transfer of population when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population is a crime against humanity.” Also, Article 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute assert that “Deportation or forcible transfer of population” is a war crime.
PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations bodies to uphold their legal and moral duties, and to urgently intervene to stop the Israeli occupation’s crime against Palestinians and to guarantee their protection.