Israel destroying emergency shelters of home demolition victims, says Red Cross

Palestinian victims of an Israeli home demolition in al-Mayta, Jordan Valley in January 2013.

Keren Manor ActiveStills

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended distribution of tents and shelter materials to Palestinian victims of Israeli home demolitions in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley because Israeli occupation forces are habitually destroying or confiscating them.

Jon Martin Larsen, ICRC spokesperson for Israel and the occupied territories, told The Electronic Intifada by telephone that his organization would continue to provide emergency supplies including hygiene kits, kitchen sets and mattresses to those made homeless by Israel.

“The difference now is that we will not be able to distribute shelter materials such as tents to people affected by house demolitions in the Jordan Valley and that is because we see a pattern of obstacles and confiscations since early 2013 of these tents and materials,” Larsen explained.

Larsen said that Israeli authorities were responsible for the confiscations and destruction. He added that ICRC had responded to 16 incidents of home demolitions involving some 70 households since the beginning of 2013.

Israeli authorities had confiscated or destroyed the emergency housing materials of more than 30 of those households, affecting about 200 persons, the ICRC spokesperson said.

“We are in constant dialogue with Israeli authorities on this and other matters related to the occupier’s responsibility,” Larsen continued.

“Under international humanitarian law it is the occupier’s responsibility to facilitate rapid and unimpeded assistance to people in need. It is also prohibited under international humanitarian law to confiscate and destroy private property.”

Larsen said that the Palestinian Red Crescent had announced that it would continue to provide emergency shelter materials to Palestinian victims of Israeli home demolitions.

He said he hoped that ICRC could resume distributing tents as soon as possible.

Ongoing demolitions

As Patrick O. Strickland reported for The Electronic Intifada this week, Palestinians have responded to Israel’s takeover of the Jordan Valley by retaking the forcibly depopulated village of Ein Hijleh.

In 2013 alone, more than 1,000 persons were displaced in eastern occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank by Israeli demolitions and evictions, according to the UN.

The demolitions have continued into 2014.

Thousands of Israeli settlers live in illegal colonies in the Jordan Valley, a region Israel has announced it wants to keep its occupation forces in even under a “peace” agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

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Ali,
I am disappointed. I did not think you would post stories like this, "Israel destroying emergency shelters of home demolition victims, says Red Cross" without corroborating links but the links in this piece just go back to your post! Where is the corroboration? I reposted it on another page trusting your veracity and was informed of this problem. In searching the wed I can find nothing but reprints of your story. Please show the proof!

Ali Abunimah's picture

I spoke with Larsen personally by telephone. All the quotes are direct quotes. This story is also reported separately by other media. Not sure what you find “disappointing” since we often do original reporting and are extremely careful about our sources.

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Israeli war criminals have no shame. Here's more on Israel's ongoing war on human rights...

Israeli forces manhandle EU diplomats, seize West Bank aid (Reuters, 20 September 2013).
http://www.reuters.com/article...

Some extracts:
"Israeli soldiers manhandled European diplomats on Friday and seized a truck full of tents and emergency aid they had been trying to deliver to Palestinians whose homes were demolished this week.

Israeli soldiers stopped the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivering emergency aid on Tuesday and on Wednesday IRCS staff managed to put up some tents but the army forced them to take the shelters down.

Diplomats from France, Britain, Spain, Ireland, Australia and the European Union's political office, turned up on Friday with more supplies. As soon as they arrived, about a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them, and soldiers told them not to unload their truck."

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The "light unto all nations" has come to this? Shame, shame, shame!