News ID: 323301
Published: 0346 GMT August 02, 2022

UN experts slam Israel's 'harassment' in West Bank

UN experts slam Israel's 'harassment' in West Bank
Israel demolishes house of a Palestinian family in Masafer Yatta village in southern West Bank, Palestine, in May 2022.


UN experts on Tuesday slammed Israel's "harassment" of human rights defenders and humanitarian workers in the occupied West Bank's Masafer Yatta villages, where Israel has a military zone.

The special rapporteurs insisted such harassment must stop, and said residents continue to be threatened by the risk of forcible transfer, including mass forced evictions and arbitrary displacement, AFP reported.

"Israeli authorities' hubris is proving without limits. They are even harassing human rights defenders and humanitarian workers seeking to support and protect people facing grave human rights violations in Masafer Yatta," the four experts said in a joint statement.

"This is a direct assault on the core of human rights and international humanitarian law... this also confirms that impunity over abuse of power fosters power to abuse."

The case of Masafer Yatta – or Firing Zone 918 – an agricultural area near Hebron, has been one of Israel's longest running legal battles.

In the early 1980s the army declared the 30-square-kilometre (12-square-mile) territory a restricted military area and claimed it was uninhabited.

Residents of eight villages had been in court for around 20 years fighting Israeli efforts to evict them.

But in May this year, Israel's High Court approved the eviction of Palestinian villagers to make way for a military training zone.

"The tragic implications of that decision are now before our eyes: roughly 1,200 Palestinian residents in Masafer Yatta are left defenceless in front of the threat of forced eviction and arbitrary displacement," said the experts, who do not speak for the United Nations but are mandated to report their findings to it.

The statement was penned by the special rapporteurs on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, adequate housing, internally displaced persons, and human rights defenders.

They voiced dismay at reports that human rights defenders and humanitarian workers have been harassed by the Israeli military in Masafer Yatta.






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