St. Yves Organizes a Field Visit to Masafer Yatta
- Date: 2016-02-10
The Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights organized yesterday the 9th of February a field visit to Masafer Yatta, in the southern hills of Hebron, to shed light on the damage caused by the latest mass demolition in the area, carried out by the Israeli forces last week. A number of diplomats from different European countries participated in the field visit, including the European Union, Greece, Sweden, Ireland, France and Italy, as well as UN agencies and civil society organizations.
The visit targeted the communities of Jenbah and Alhalawah, where 18 EU funded houses were demolished last week, leaving many families homeless and living in very undermined conditions.
St. Yves’ lawyers briefed the visiting group on the legal framework that governs house demolitions in areas (C) of the West Bank generally, and the latest developments in the Masafer Yatta demolitions, including the latest legal intervention of St. Yves in this case. St. Yves warned the visiting group against the implications that the Israeli forcible transfer policies have on the affected communities and called on the visiting representatives to take immediate effective measures against such grave violations.
The briefing was followed by testimonies of the Head of the council of Masafer Yatta on the history of demolitions in the area, and of the affected families who described the extremely poor living conditions that they face as a result of the demolitions, as it left them without any alternative housing or basic needs. The council of Masafer Yatta encouraged the visiting group to take action in the area to prevent their forced eviction.
It is noteworthy that the Israeli authorities declared Masafer Yatta a closed firing zone for training in the 1980s, known as “firing zone 918”. As a result, the residents of the villages were placed at a serious risk of forced eviction, demolition and displacement; living in fear, deteriorating living conditions, restrictions on building and developments, and constant harassment by the Israeli army and settlers.