Israeli Court Authorizes Forcible Expulsion of Masafer Yatta Communities

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian structures in Masafer Yatta. (Photo: via ActiveStills)

Israel’s top court authorized the army on Wednesday to forcibly expel the residents of Masafer Yatta communities in the southern West Bank district of Hebron (Al-Khalil), the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Israel’s High Court ruled in favor of the forcible displacement of some 1,300 Palestinians living in twelve villages making up the Masafer Yatta area, which relies heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, marking one of the largest expulsions carried out by the State of Israel in recent decades.

The court published the ruling on Wednesday overnight, just ahead of Israel’s so-called “Independence Day”, which saw the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 to one million Palestinians 74 years ago and turning them into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine, striking down the petition submitted by Masafer Yatta families against a 1981 military order designating the area Firing Zone 918.

The court’s move effectively leads to the confiscation of over 35,000 dunes of land, where agricultural communities have lived for generations, to consolidate colonial settlement construction in the area.

Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living – livestock.

The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem slammed the court ruling as being intended to forcibly transfer hundreds of Palestinians from their homes and destroy their communities with “the clear purpose of taking over their lands in the service of Jewish interests”

It urged the international community to prevent Israel from forcibly transferring the communities and “make sure, should this crime be committed, that those responsible for it – including government ministers, the military top echelons, and the supreme court justices – will be held accountable.”

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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