Israeli Military Forces’ Unlawful Razing Of Palestinian Property In Village Of Homsa Al-Baqia

On Tuesday, November 3rd, using construction equipment like Bulldozers and Diggers, Israeli military forces decimated dozens of Palestinian homes in the village of Homsa al-Baqia overnight—located in the Israeli-occupied region of the West Bank. Roughly 80 Palestinian citizens were left displaced or homeless in the wake of the attack, a majority of whom were reported as minors. In addition to the destruction of homes, portable toilets, water containers, solar panels, and sheds used as livestock enclosures were also destroyed. 

In justifying Tuesday’s aggression, Israel made reference to the rules the country has imposed within the Jordan Valley, which holds over 60,000 Palestinians, prohibiting Palestinian citizens from building in the area without permits. However, obtaining such requisite permits are known to be next-to-impossible, as official statistics indicate that no more than a mere two percent of the approximately 3,300 permit applications that were processed in the area from 2009 to 2016 were granted by Israeli authorities. As a consequence, many Palestinians are forced to undergo building in the area without such authorization. This has meant Israeli-led demolitions against Palestinian communities are frequent; so far this year almost 800 Palestinians have been left displaced from their homes as a consequence of these demolitions, while tens of thousands more residing in these Palestinian communities classified under the UN as “high risk of forcible transfer” live in ongoing fear.

More details surrounding the event are provided in the account given by Abdelghani Awada, a victim of Tuesday’s razing with long ancestral ties to the area, stating that military forces notified him only “10 minutes before” they proceeded to bulldoze through his home. Furthermore, although Palestinians repeatedly see themselves as the targets of similar-looking Israeli-led destruction, a representative from the Israel anti-occupation non-government organization, ‘B’Tselem,’ describes an aspect unique to Tuesday’s attack: “the wiping off of a whole community at once is extremely rare, and it seems like Israel was making use of the fact that everyone’s attention is currently set elsewhere [the U.S. presidential election] to move forward with this inhumane act.” 

Sources of international law outline that an occupying power (like Israel) is strictly forbidden from destroying property unless “absolutely necessary” and for “military operations.” Against these criteria, Israel’s actions on Tuesday in Homsa al-Baqia and in recent history—throughout the West Bank area—undoubtedly constitute a violation of international law, as the woefully illegitimate basis for which these demolitions have been justified certainly do not meet the condition of  “absolutely necessary.” Moreover, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank area has been deemed an infringement in itself, as seen in the UN’s Security Council Resolution 2334. The resolution termed Israel’s settlement in Palestinian Territories as “a flagrant violation under international law” and has been blatantly ignored by Israel.

The lack of international pressure on Israel to comply with international law is often seen as a core reason behind why this conflict—one of the world’s longest and most controversial—continues. In order for this conflict to have any shot of coming to an end, the global community must come together to hold both parties accountable for their international law infringements.