Distortions about Demolished Dwellings

This week the United Nations (UN) rebuked Israel for demolishing Palestinian homes in the area widely referred to as the West Bank.

Around 73 people, including 41 children, are said to have been made homeless when their dwellings were knocked down in the Bedouin ‘village’ of Khirbet Humsa, in the Jordan Valley.

UN officials claimed that 76 structures were demolished. Yet even they acknowledged that many of these were not homes but animal shelters, toilets and solar panels.

Belongings left after the demolitionBelongings left after the demolition (photo: OCHA)

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, joined in the criticism, saying that the demolition was a “brutal and violent act”, continuing:

“It is deeply disappointing that Israel continues to carry out these reprehensible acts
which are a grave breach of international humanitarian law.”

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a regular critic of Israel, accused Israel of violating international law and carrying out “ethnic cleansing” in the demolition. She tweeted:

“This a grave crime — in direct violation of international law.
If they used any US equipment it also violates US law.”

Those claims all suggest it was a permanent village of some sort, whereas many in Israel see it as a ‘wildcat Palestinian village.’ Israel’s High Court has ruled that the Bedouin herders living there had no right to stay in the area.

Middle East analyst, David Collier, notes that although the dwellings were described as a ‘village’ the pictures of the demolition only show some smashed tents and temporary structures, no infrastructure of a long-term place of residence. He went on to say:

“If you do a quick historic search of Khirbet Humsa, you soon realize this
small gathering of tents has been a politicised battleground for decades.”

Naomi Kahn, spokeswoman for Regavim, noted that similar tactics are used against other Israel Defence Forces training areas in Judea and Samaria, saying:

“The PA is using these people as pawns in order to control this territory.”

So once again we have international politicians levelling extreme criticism of Israel and seriously misrepresenting the facts.