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UN human experts have called on Israel to immediately stop its demolition of Palestinian homes forth with; calling on them ‘to ensure that its actions are strictly compliant with its international humanitarian and human rights obligations and to provide protection for, rather than displacement of, the protected population.’
Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory; and Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living in statement, have condemned the demolition by Israel of the homes and property belonging to a Palestinian Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank, amid a significant rise in property demolitions across the occupied territory.
The experts said that Israel habitually demolishes Palestinian homes and structures built without permit in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They say the Israeli military has seized significant portions of the West Bank as military firing zones, upsetting the lands and lives of many pastoral and permanent Bedouin communities.
‘Home and property demolitions belonging to a protected population under occupation by an occupying power are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,’ the experts said.
‘According to Article 53, the occupying power is prohibited from destroying real and personal property unless rendered ‘absolutely necessary by military operations’.’
They also expressed particular concern that the pattern of rising home and property demolitions by Israel has been occurring during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Secure housing is one of the ultimate protections that individuals possess to protect themselves against COVID-19,’ they said.
‘Deliberately creating a homeless population in the midst of an international health catastrophe is a serious human rights blemish on any State authority responsible for such acts.’
According to the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, 869 Palestinians have been rendered homeless this year through property destruction by Israel, the largest number since 2016.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK