Bulldozers and excavators destroy the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa, leaving 74 people, including 41 minors, homeless.
The Israeli army destroyed the homes of nearly 80 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Eighteen tents that housed eleven families in the northern village of Khirbet Humsa were destroyed late Tuesday.
According to B’Tselem, an Israeli anti-occupation non-governmental organization, a total of 74 people were displaced, more than half of whom were minors.
The bulldozers and excavators also destroyed stables that served as cattle enclosures, portable toilets, water containers and solar panels, and confiscated vehicles and tractors from some residents.
Palestinians collect their belongings after Israeli soldiers demolished their tents in an area east of the village of Tubas in the occupied West Bank [Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP]Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the international community to intervene against the attempt by Israeli forces to “evict the citizens of Khirbet Humsa and dozens of similar communities from their homes and countries,” pointing out that Israel “has decided tonight to commit another “crime” since attention is drawn to the presidential election in the United States.
With attention turned to # USElection2020, Israel has decided tonight to commit / cover up another crime: demolishing 70 Palestinian structures, including houses in Khirbet Humsa al-Foqa in the northern Jordan Valley, evicting ~ 80 Palestinian citizens, including women / children.
– DR. Mohammad Shtayyeh Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh (@DrShtayyeh) November 3, 2020
Abdelghani Awada, who was made homeless by the operation, told AFP news agency that the Israelis had given people “10 minutes to evacuate our homes”.
“Then they started bulldozing,” he said.
He said his family had lived in the area for generations and accused Israel of trying “to rid the Jordan Valley of its Palestinian population”.
The nightly operation was unusual because B’Tselem said so many homes were attacked at the same time.
As you watched the US election zealously, Israel destroyed an entire community and made 74 people, including 41 minors, homeless. pic.twitter.com/7hA5AHdFn0
– B’Tselem בצלם B’Tselem (@btselem) November 4, 2020
“It is clear that the intent is to evict residents from the country by a man-made humanitarian disaster. But residents told us there was nowhere to go, ”Sarit Michaeli, international lawyer for the B’Tselem, said on Twitter, adding that this was the first demolition of an entire pastoral community in seven years.
The last time Israel destroyed an entire pastoral community was 7 years ago. It is clear that the intent is to evict residents from the country by a man-made humanitarian disaster. But the residents told us there was nowhere to go. https://t.co/DUm1sLKyZM
– Sarit Michaeli (@ saritm0), November 4, 2020
The Israeli army’s civil affairs branch, COGAT, said it had destroyed structures “illegally built in a firing zone (military training area) in the Jordan Valley”.
The Jordan Valley is home to around 60,000 Palestinians, according to the UN, but almost 90 percent of the land is part of what is known as Area C, the three-fifths of the West Bank, which is entirely under Israeli control.
It includes closed military areas and about 50 agricultural settlements, home to about 12,000 Israelis.
Palestinians are excluded from these areas and from the countries that own them. They are forbidden from digging wells or building any type of infrastructure without obtaining difficult-to-obtain military permits.
Anything built without a permit, from house extensions to tents, animal stalls and irrigation nets, is threatened with demolition by the Israeli military [Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP]From 2009 to 2016, less than two percent 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 stalls and irrigation nets, is threatened with demolition by the Israeli military.
Almost 800 Palestinians, including 404 minors, lost their homes as early as 2020.
Throughout the previous year, 677 lost their homes, up from 387 in 2018 and 521 in 2017.