Israeli forces demolished housing donated by the European Union (EU) in a Bedouin village in the southern occupied West Bank on Monday morning.
Khashem al-Daraj and Umm al-Kheir are among dozens of small communities located in the Masafer Yatta area – also known as the South Hebron Hills – which falls within Israel’s “Firing Zone 918,” and inside the occupied West Bank’s Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and security control.
Palestinians are prohibited from entering firing zones without rarely granted permission from Israeli authorities, which has had “a serious humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians and dramatically reduced the land available to them for residential and livelihood uses,” according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
— AIC (@aicnews) September 11, 2014
Masafer Yatta residents were expelled at the time of the establishment of the firing zone in the 1970s and were eventually allowed back following a long court battle, but are under the constant threat of being expelled or seeing their homes demolished.
In 2016, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Palestine warned of a heightened risk of the forcible transfer of Bedouins in the occupied West Bank, including the community of Umm al-Kheir, amid an unprecedented surge in demolitions and land confiscations across the occupied territory this year.
Israeli settlers torch 100s of acres of Palestinian citrus trees while firefighters were blocked by Israeli soldiers https://t.co/bW4UPETHez
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) August 8, 2017
Meanwhile, the presence of around 3,000 Israeli settlers illegally living in the area has restricted Palestinian growth over the past decade while Israeli authorities reallocate local resources for settlement expansion.
(Maan, PC, Social Media)