Israeli carries out biggest demolition of Palestinian homes on US Election Day

27th Nov 2020

Nadine Osman

The Prime Minister of Palestine accused Israel of timing what the UN dubbed the biggest demolition of Palestinian Bedouin homes in the occupied West Bank on the US Election Day to distract the world.

‘As the attention is focused on #USElection2020, Israel chose this evening to commit another crime/cover it up: to demolish 70 Palestinian structures, inc homes, in Khirbet Humsa al-Foqa in the northern Jordan Valley, displacing 80 Palestinian citizens, inc women/children,’ tweeted Mohammad Shtayyeh.

According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 76 structures – including homes, animal shelters, toilets and solar panels – were destroyed when Israeli bulldozers moved in late on November 3.

Some 689 structures have been demolished across the West Bank and East Jerusalem so far this year, leaving 869 Palestinians homeless, says the UN.
The Israeli military said the structures had been built illegally.

However, the UN called the Israeli actions a “grave breach of international law” and issued a statement calling for demolitions to be immediately halted. The comments were echoed by the European Union.

“The EU reiterates its call on Israel to halt all such demolitions, including of EU-funded structures, in particular in light of the humanitarian impact of the current coronavirus pandemic,” the bloc said.

Israeli authorities put the figure considerably lower, saying an “enforcement activity” had been carried out involving seven tents and eight animal pens.

Footage from the scene following the demolition, released by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, showed the area strewn with wreckage including twisted metal, sheets and cots.

Making way for illegal Israeli settlers

Resident Harbi Abu Kabsh told The Jerusalem Post Israel wants,“to expel us from the area so that settlers can live in our place, but we will not leave from here,”
In a statement, the Israeli military body responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank said the destroyed structures had been “built illegally in a firing zone“, or military training area.

OCHA said Khirbet Humsa, known as Humsa al-Bqaiaa in Arabic, was one of 38 communities fully or partially located within Israeli-designated “firing zones” and which constitute “some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank”. It said such demolitions were “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention” – international law designed to protect civilian populations in occupied territories.

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