Israeli occupation forces demolished 27 structures in the Masafer Yatta area of the southern West Bank on Tuesday, leading to the displacement of 13 Palestinian families and adversely affecting the livelihoods of 70 others. This alarming incident has been documented by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has raised concerns over the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region.
The demolished structures, as reported by OCHA, encompassed 18 residential tents, four animal shelters, three latrines, a water tank, and a solar panel. The ramifications of these demolitions have left 66 people, including 36 children, without shelter and access to essential services, exposing them to harsh weather conditions and dire living circumstances.
Masafer Yatta, a cluster of 19 hamlets situated in Area C of the West Bank, falls under complete control of the Israeli occupation. Since the 1970s, this area has been designated as a “firing zone” for Israeli occupation forces training purposes, subjecting its Palestinian residents to a series of demolitions, evictions, access restrictions, and incidents of settler violence.
OCHA’s report emphasizes that these demolitions were executed on the grounds of the absence of Israeli-issued building permits, which are nearly unattainable for Palestinian residents in Area C. Furthermore, the report categorically states that these demolitions represent a violation of international humanitarian law. Such actions are strictly prohibited under international law, which prohibits the destruction of private property and the forcible transfer of protected persons in an occupied territory.
Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, did not mince her words as she strongly condemned these demolitions. She called upon the Israeli occupation to cease its illegal policies and practices in Area C, urging the international community to step in and support the humanitarian needs of the affected families. Furthermore, Hastings called for accountability to be enforced against those responsible for these flagrant violations of international law.
The international community has closely monitored the Palestinian predicament for decades, and such assaults and abuses continue to underscore the dire need for a resolution and an end to the suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians caught under the unrelenting grip of the Israeli occupation.