Middle East Monitor / September 18, 2023
The Israeli government is carrying out a forcible transfer of Palestinians [ethnic cleansing] in the Occupied West Bank, a human rights group said Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.
“Israel works to make the lives of residents in communities located in areas it wishes to take over unbearable, forcing them to leave their homes and lands,” the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem said in a statement.
“This is an illegal policy that implicates Israel in the war crime of forcible transfer,” the rights group said.
“International law, which Israel is obligated to respect and has undertaken to abide by, forbids the forcible transfer of residents of an occupied territory – no matter the circumstances”
The rights organization said Palestinian residents face repeated assaults by illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
“Driving shepherds off their fields, physically assaulting local residents, invading their homes in the middle of the night, setting fires, scaring flocks, vandalizing crops, stealing property, blocking roads and destroying water tanks – this is what settlers do to Palestinians day in and day out, forcing a horrifying routine on dozens of Palestinian communities,” it said.
“This incessant violence is encouraged by the state and serves it,” B’Tselem said.
“With no one to protect them and having no other choice, at least six communities have fled their homes in the past two years. Dozens more are in immediate danger of forced displacement.”
The Israeli rights group accused members of the current government of encouraging settler attacks against Palestinians.
“They praise violent settlers and erase, with their actions, even the appearance of a functioning law enforcement system,” it said.
In March, Israeli Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, called for wiping out the Palestinian town of Huwara following the killing of two Israeli settlers in the area.
According to estimates, about 700,000 illegal Jewish settlers live in 164 Jewish settlements and 116 outposts in the Occupied West Bank.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories are considered illegal.