MASAFER YATTA, HEBRON, Tuesday, May 17, 2022 (WAFA) – After yesterday visiting Masafer Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, international officials said Masafer Yatta Palestinians should be allowed to stay in their homes with dignity.
The visit to the Masafer Yatta area, organized by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory, came to meet with and listen to Palestinian residents at risk of forcible transfer following an Israeli High Court ruling that gave the army the green light to demolish a dozen Masafer Yatta communities.
“Following the recent court ruling on Masafer Yatta, I call upon the Israeli government to allow residents to remain here with dignity,” states the acting Humanitarian Coordinator, Samer Abdel Jaber. “Living here in safety is what residents wish for, as some of them told us today. We, the international community represented here, are committed to support them.”
The visit to Masafer Yatta was attended by officials from five UN Agencies and 11 NGOs, as well as by diplomats representing 24 countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
“As the occupying power, the Israeli authorities’ responsibility is to protect Palestinian civilians,” Abdel Jaber stressed. “Forcing 13 communities out to make room for military training is contradictory to that imperative, and simply inhumane and illegal.”
On 4 May, the Israeli High Court approved the eviction of Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta to make room for Israeli military training. About 1,200 people, including 580 children, are now at imminent risk of forced eviction and displacement. They stand to lose their homes, belongings, access to water, livelihoods, primary health facilities and schools. This could amount to forcible transfer, a grave breach of international humanitarian law, and thus a war crime, said the UN agency.