Palestinians: ICC should stop Wadi Hummus razing

According to Sur Bahir residents, Border Police visited the structures slated for demolition on Sunday morning and bulldozers were in the area in the afternoon.

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July 22, 2019 06:27
1 minute read.
Soldiers inspected one of the Wadi Hummos structures slated for demolition on July 18, 2019.

Soldiers inspected one of the Wadi Hummos structures slated for demolition on July 18, 2019.. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Palestinians have turned to the international community to halt what they fear could be the imminent demolitions of some 18 buildings near the security barrier in Wadi Hummus, southeast of Jerusalem.


The High Court of Justice rejected a last-minute petition by attorney Ghiat Nasser on Sunday for an injunction to halt the demolitions. Most of the structures are in the process of construction, but at least three families numbering 15 people currently live in the buildings.
“We appeal to the international community, and to representatives of countries that visited us in recent weeks, to make immediate contact with the Israeli authorities and demand they refrain from the demolition,” said Wadi Hummus resident Mohammad Abu Their.


“We also call on the United Nations Security Council to convene urgently and pass a resolution prohibiting Israel from moving ahead with the demolitions,” he said.


They also called on International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to warn Israel that such action was a “war crime,” similar to the statement she made last year with regard to the possible demolition of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.


“Extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute,” Bensouda wrote in October 2018.


But in the case of Wadi Hummus, Israel has argued that the structures must be taken down for security reasons, because they were built too close to the existing security barrier. The barrier runs through the back end of the Sur Bahir neighborhood in Wadi Hummus.


The structures in question are located in Areas A and B of the West Bank, and the owners obtained building permits from the Palestinian Authority.


According to Sur Bahir residents, Border Police visited the structures slated for demolition on Sunday morning and bulldozers were in the area in the afternoon.


PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warned that the demotions would “constitute a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as war crimes pursuant to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.


“The Israeli judicial system has repeatedly shown its complicity in Israel’s illegal colonial-settlement enterprise. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the international community to immediately intervene to halt the demolitions in Sur Bahir and hold Israel to account for its repeated violations of international law,” Erekat said.


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