The United Nations has called for international support after the IDF this week prevented Palestinians from erecting new tents at the site of the demolished illegal herding village of Khirbat Humsa in the Jordan Valley.
“The support of the broader international community is critical, to ensure the Israeli authorities guarantee humanitarian access to provide assistance to people in need,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories said Wednesday in an appeal it put out for the community of around 100 people.
The community is located in an IDF firing zone, in a remote location, off a dirt road. The Civil Administration demolished its tents in November. When the families erected the tent village a second time, the IDF returned in February, moving tents during five different demolition incidents, after residents continued to rebuild.
On Tuesday the Civil Administration confiscated five donor funded tents, according to OCHA.
The left-wing NGO B’Tselem, which has been monitoring the situation, said that the IDF arrived while a delegation of European diplomats from local missions and representatives of foreign NGOs had paid a solidarity visit to the site.
OCHA said that in total in February the IDF had removed 62 structures from Khirbat Humsa, displacing 60 people, including 35 children.
Some of the structures were used for livestock. The Civil Administration said it has offered to relocate the community and that an initial relocation agreement had been worked out, but that the Palestinians in Khirbat Humsa had reneged on the understanding.
The Palestinians have said they have no intention of leaving the site.
Both Israel and the Palestinians view the struggle over the village as part of the larger land battle for Area C of the West Bank.
The Israeli Right holds that the Palestinians are pushing to settle places like Khirbat Humsa in Area C, to prevent Israeli sovereignty over the area.
Palestinians and the Israeli Left believes that the demolitions of illegal Palestinian structures, is part of plan to rid the area of Palestinians in advance of eventual Israeli territorial annexation in Area C.
The international community has supported the Palestinians out of a belief that Area C would be part of an eventual Palestinian state, and because Israel grants very few permits for legal Palestinian development in Area C.