Israeli Occupation Expels 13 Palestinian Families from Masafer Yatta


In a recent report released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), it was revealed that Israeli occupation forces have forcibly expelled 13 Palestinian families comprising 84 individuals, including 44 children, from Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, since the beginning of July 2023.

This has brought the total number of forcibly displaced Palestinian communities from the West Bank to four since 2022.

The report highlights that the primary reason for the displacement of the people of Masafer Yatta is the tightening restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation.

These restrictions include limiting freedom of movement, confiscating properties, demolishing homes, and conducting military exercises in the area, all of which have compelled the Palestinians to leave their homes.

Read more: Escalating Israeli Attacks and Settlement Expansion in Palestine

Over the past three months, Israeli measures have escalated further, with the establishment of a military base where routine activities and exercises disrupt the daily lives of the local population.

This has resulted in severe restrictions on their movement and access to essential services.

During this year, 24 students from two schools in Masafer Yatta fled, including students whose families had been forcibly displaced.

The report also documents the detention of Palestinian teachers in September while they were on their way to school, with threats of vehicle confiscation if they used them again.

One of the affected communities, “Bir al-Ad,” in Masafer Yatta, has been completely emptied of its residents following the expulsion of the last two families in March 2023.

The report attributes the escalating violence by settlers as the primary reason for forcing these families to leave, making Masafer Yatta the fourth Palestinian community in the West Bank to be entirely emptied since 2022.

The report from OCHA underscores that the occupation authorities obstruct the efforts of humanitarian organizations through demolition orders, “stop work” orders, confiscation of vehicles and equipment, and imposing restrictions to prevent humanitarian workers from reaching the affected areas.

It emphasizes that the forced deportation of civilians is prohibited under international humanitarian law, calling on the occupation to cease all coercive measures, including restrictions on movement, planned demolitions, and military training in residential areas.

Masafer Yatta, situated south of Hebron, consists of 13 populated clusters and, until recently, hosted 215 families totaling 1,150 people.

This area constitutes 18% of the West Bank’s land and is designated by the occupation as “firing zones” for military training purposes.

The occupation and its settlers target Masafer Yatta by demolishing homes, harassing shepherds, and subjecting the population to daily assaults in an attempt to forcibly displace them, despite international calls to halt this displacement policy.

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