In a statement released on Monday, B’Tselem said international regulations forbid the forcible transfer of residents of an occupied territory. “This is an illegal policy that implicates Israel in the war crime of forcible transfer.”
The organization said the Palestinian residents face continuing assaults by settlers in the occupied West Bank. The group said the regime was encouraging settler attacks against the Palestinians.
“This incessant violence is encouraged by the Tel Aviv regime and serves it,” the group said. “They praise violent settlers and erase, with their actions, even the appearance of a functioning law enforcement system.”
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, the group 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,” B’Tselem said.
In March, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, notorious for making inflammatory statements against the Palestinians, called for the destruction of the Palestinian village of Huwara, days after settlers raided a village near Nablus.
A panel of United Nations experts earlier this year called on the international community to take action to stop systematic housing demolition, arbitrary displacement and forced evictions of the Palestinian people in the West Bank.
They also warned about the regime’s endorsement and escalated practice of punitive evictions and demolitions over alleged attacks by the Palestinians against settlers, such as revoking identity documents, citizenship and residency rights and social security benefits.
“Israel’s tactics of forcibly displacing and evicting the Palestinian population appear to have no limits. In occupied East al-Quds, tens of Palestinian families also face imminent risks of forced evictions and displacement, due to discriminatory zoning and planning regimes that favor Israeli settlement expansion – the act that is illegal under international law and amounts to a war crime,” the panel said.
Israel occupied the West Bank, including East al-Quds, in a Western-backed war in 1967. Ever since, it has been dotting the territory with hundreds of settlements that house thousands of settlers. All the settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.