A European delegation visits Masafer Yatta, where 8 residential communities are at risk of displacement from their lands

A delegation of heads of western diplomatic missions in the West Bank and Jerusalem on Thursday visited Masafer Yatta area south of Hebron city , where eight residential communities are at risk of displacement from their lands.

 

The delegation’s visit to show solidarity with the residents in the gatherings came in the wake of the Israeli Supreme Court’s approval last May of the army’s recommendation to forcibly transfer 8 villages in Masafer Yatta, reasoning that its residents “failed to prove” their claim that they were permanent residents there before declaring it a military training area for Saleh. Army.

 

The residents of Masafer Yatta say that the Israeli occupation authorities want to "completely evacuate and close the area and turn it into military training areas under the name of shooting range 918, indifferent to the forced displacement of residents."

 

 

 

The diplomatic delegation included a number of representatives from Belgium, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

 

The delegation toured several places in the threatened communities and met with Palestinian Bedouin families residing there, in addition to reviewing the damage caused to some homes as a result of the military exercises of the Israeli army.

 

 

 

The representative of the European Union in Palestine, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, said during a press conference that the delegation's presence came in solidarity with the residents of Masafer Yatta who are threatened with forced displacement and forced relocation, and this shows "our desire to direct the international focus to what is happening here."

 

Burgsdorff stated that the Israeli Supreme Court took the decision ignoring the fact that the Israeli occupying power has duties under international law, expressing concern about this decision, which is a violation of international law.

 

 

 

Burgsdorff added that the occupying power under international law has no right to expel and displace people for military reasons, stressing that there is no reason to displace people from the region and threaten economic life.

 

The representative of the European Union in Palestine called on the international community to act to stop the eviction of the population, build solar energy facilities and shelter for people, protect their basic rights, and provide education, food and water.

 

Burgsdorff explained that if the Israeli authorities displace the residents of Masafer Yatta, this would be "the largest forced relocation since 1999, and this is our great fear as we stand and fight to protect your basic human rights."

 

 

 

The visit of the European delegation was welcomed by officials and local residents.

 

 

 

Fouad Al-Amour, coordinator of the "Protection and Resilience Committees" in southern Hebron, told Xinhua that the presence of the European delegation strengthens the elements of resilience of the residents of Masafer Yatta, and it is a strong message to Israel that its procedures and practices are illegal.

 

 

 

Al-Amour stressed that the residents of Al-Musafer are determined to stay in their lands and homes, no matter the cost, and will not leave them despite being shot at due to the Israeli military exercises taking place in the area.

 

 

 

Al-Amour expressed his hope that the visit would constitute a safety valve for the Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta and prevent their displacement from their lands at any moment.

 

 

 

The area witnesses almost daily protests by local residents and Israeli and foreign peace activists.

 

 

 

The area of ​​the villages threatened with eviction is estimated at about 30,000 dunams (a dunam is 1,000 square metres) and inhabited by more than 2,000 people, including women and children.

 

 

 

Israel has classified about 38 localities inhabited by more than 5,000 Palestinians as "firing zones", which constitute 18% of the area of ​​the West Bank, according to the United Nations Coordination Office in Palestine.

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