On May 4 2022, the Israeli High Court of Justice gave a green light to forcibly evict around 1200 people – including 500 children – from the region of Masafer Yatta (West Bank). This would be the biggest act of forcible transfer in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967. The evictions aim to clear the region for the implementation of 4000 new settlements units.
Forced evictions and settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The Israeli Supreme Court’s decision allowing this population transfer is based on the argument that the villagers had not been permanent residents when the area was declared a firing zone in 1981 – despite extensive evidence to the contrary (more information here).
The region has been the site of settlers’ violence and intimidation to push Palestinians out of Masafer Yatta through ongoing threats and harassment. One of the gravest incidents took place last year, when over 80 settlers stormed one of the villages in the region, injuring a 3-year-old boy.
In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis calls upon us to treat each other like brothers and sisters and for universal human rights to be respected in our common home. CIDSE hopes and prays that colonial attitudes can still be stopped, ensuring the life and dignity of the communities of Masafer Yatta.
CIDSE strongly opposes this population transfer and calls on all political leaders to take immediate steps to protect Palestinians in Masafer Yatta. Despite some positive political reactions – including from the US Ambassador to the UN and the EU Spokesperson, ￼no practical measures were undertaken to stop any further eviction or settlement expansion in the area.
The following reporters and activists are based in the area and available for interviews as well as for organising visits on the ground:
- Basil al-Adraa (email@example.com, +972529953738): Palestinian reporter and activist in Masafer Yatta
- Yuval Abraham (firstname.lastname@example.org): journalist
Contacts at CIDSE:
- Valentina Pavarotti, Communications Manager; Pavarotti(at)cidse.org
- Bernardo Kaiser, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory Policy Officer; Kaiser(at)cidse.org
Picture: Al-Mafkara, Masafer Yatta, December 2021, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International