Israeli settlements expanding in region of Masafer Yatta
Jamila and Muhammad Abu Sabha and their six children are among some 180 Palestinian families living in Masafer Yatta, in the south of the West Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territories who are at risk of forced displacement. Around 1,150 Palestinians, half of whom are children, currently live in nine villages that are slated for complete demolition.
After 23 years of legal procedures, the Israeli Supreme Court concluded on May 4, 2022 that the eviction of Masafer Yatta’s inhabitants could go ahead. Israeli military activity in the area has increased since the court’s decision in May 2022, leading to fears that demolitions are imminent. Israel’s execution of this large-scale expulsion would amount to forcible transfer, which is a war crime and crime against humanity.
Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to immediately halt all plans to demolish Palestinian homes and evict residents in Masafer Yatta, end Israeli settlement activity, and to stop forcible transfers of the Palestinian population in the occupied West Bank in general.
Photo © Reuters/Ammar Awad
Masafer Yatta includes 19 villages and hamlets, of which nine are at imminent risk of demolition. The Israeli authorities have issued orders to demolish almost all homes, as well as animal shelters, cisterns, primary and secondary schools, and community infrastructure on the grounds that they were built without official permits in an area designated as a military zone. Building permits are, however, almost impossible to obtain for Palestinians in the context of a systematically discriminatory land and housing regime.
In February 2022, Amnesty International released the comprehensive report, Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity, setting out how massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law.