Doctors Without Borders ask Israel to stop forceful displacement of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta 

Israeli occupation forces often collaborate with illegal settlers to attack Palestinians and their properties in the occupied territories in order to force them to leave their homes and farms to be occupied later

May 01, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Masafer Yatta
(Photo: Wafa)

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), in a report published on Sunday, April 30, asked Israeli authorities to immediately halt the forceful displacement of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, Wafa news agency reported

The organization also called on the international community to take all necessary actions to stop Israel from carrying out demolitions of Palestinian homes, schools, properties, and other civilian infrastructures in Masafer Yatta.

Over 1,000 Palestinians living in and around 14 villages in Masafer Yatta are being displaced or face threats of displacement since May 2022, when the Israeli Supreme Court dismissed Palestinians’ petition against the occupation forces’ plan to forcefully displace them. In January this year, Israeli authorities gave a notice to the villagers and since then have been carrying out demolitions of Palestinian houses, schools, and other civilian infrastructure in the area. 

The report asks Israelis to stop the nightly raids on the villages, and notes that forceful displacement and raids have not only psychologically impacted the Palestinians, but also hampered their access to medical care and other basic services. It also claims that illegal Israeli settlers often carry out attacks against the residents of Masafer Yatta and prevent them from carrying out their daily affairs. According to it, the Israeli security forces and settler violence against Palestinians amounts to violation of international humanitarian laws. 

MSF claimed that the findings were based on extensive one-on-one interviews and focused group discussions with the villagers in Masafer Yatta. 

Meanwhile, residents of Al-Khalil town in the occupied southern West Bank complained on Sunday that Israeli occupation authorities have decided to hand over nearly 70 Palestinian houses to illegal Israeli settlers. These homes were seized from the Palestinian residents earlier, Al-Mayadeen reported.    

Systemic displacement in collaboration with illegal settlers

The systematic, forceful displacement of Palestinians from their homes and lands by the Israeli forces has been going on ever since the occupation of West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. The policy of forced displacement has resulted in over 600,000 illegal settlers now living in over 200 illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories. 

The hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers in the occupied territories have also acted as tools for the Israeli state to expand the settlements and change the demographic profile of Palestinian areas such as East Jerusalem. Illegal settlers have often attacked Palestinians living in the villages near their illegal settlements under the cover of protection provided by Israeli security forces. They have also indulged in arson and destruction of Palestinian properties, including burning of their farmlands, on several occasions. Most of these criminal activities have been ignored by the Israeli authorities.

The repeated attacks on Huwara near Nablus in February—in which one Palestinian was killed and numerous Palestinian homes and properties were destroyed—was the latest example of collaboration between Israeli forces and the illegal settlers. Earlier, illegal settlers had attacked residents of Palestinian localities such as Sheikh Jarrah in the occupied East Jerusalem repeatedly to force them to leave the area.