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UN officials urge Israel to halt Bedouin ‘transfer’ plans

MEMO | May 20, 2015

Senior UN officials have urged the Israeli government to “halt plans to transfer Palestinian Bedouins” in the central West Bank.

In a joint press release Wednesday, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, James W. Rawley, and the Director of UNRWA Operations West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, expressed their “grave concern” about the proposed expulsions.

According to Rawley, “Israeli practices in Area C, including a marked increase of demolitions and confiscations of donor-funded structures in the first quarter of 2015, have compounded an already untenable situation for Bedouin communities.”

46 Palestinian Bedouin communities – some 7,000 people – are slated for transfer to three proposed “relocation” sites. In March, the UN Secretary-General expressed concern that the plans “may also be connected with settlement expansion”, and noted that “forcible transfer” is “a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

The UN agencies contextualise the threatened expulsions with a “backdrop of a discriminatory zoning and planning regime that facilitates the development of illegal Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinians, for whom it is almost impossible to obtain permits for construction.”

Sanchez warned that “we are fast approaching the point of irreparable damage.”

As occupying power, Israel is obligated to ensure the wellbeing of these communities and to respect international law. I strongly urge the Israeli authorities to halt all plans and practices that will directly or indirectly lead to the forcible transfer of the Bedouin and call on the international community to support the Bedouins’ wish to remain where they are, pending their return to the Negev, and prevent this transfer from occurring.

May 20, 2015 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , ,

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