West Bank: Harassment of aid workers must end, says UN

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West Bank: Harassment of aid workers must end, says UN

According to UN rapporteurs, Israeli authorities harass human rights defenders and aid workers.

UN rapporteurs on Tuesday called on Israel to end the “harassment” of aid workers and human rights defenders in an area of ​​the occupied West Bank where the Israeli army conducts training.

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The arrogance of the Israeli authorities is boundless. They even harass human rights defenders and aid workers who seek to support and protect people facing serious human rights violations in Massafer Yatta, the four rapporteurs said in a statement.

Villagers watch an Israeli bulldozer demolish a Palestinian home in the Oum Qassas neighborhood of Massafer Yatta, in the occupied West Bank, July 25, 2022.

In May, Israel's highest court agreed with the army, ruling that the Massafer Yatta area, where 12 Palestinian villages are located in the Judean Desert at the southern end of the West Bank, constitutes a shooting range since 1980. This decision paved the way for the possible eviction of the inhabitants and the construction of housing for possible settlers.

The tragic implications of this decision are now before our eyes: around 1,200 Palestinian residents of Massafer Yatta are left defenseless against the threat of forced eviction and arbitrary displacement, argued the rapporteurs, who are mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, but do not speak on its behalf.

Massafer Yatta is in Area C , under military and civilian control of Israel, according to the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords of 1993, which divided the West Bank, this Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, into three areas – A, B and C.< /p>

A Palestinian talks to a member of the Israeli security forces before the demolition of his house in the village of al-Jawaya, in the Massafer region Yatta, in the occupied West Bank.

The four rapporteurs express their dismay at reports that human rights defenders and aid workers have been harassed by the Israeli army in Massafer Yatta.

According to these experts, they were arrested and detained for several hours at checkpoints and had their identity documents or cars confiscated, often on the grounds that they had entered a military site without authorization. .

They expressed particular concern for Sami Hureini, a prominent human rights defender and member of the Youth of Soumoud, which experts say is a militant group committed to the peaceful resistance against illegal settlements in the South Hebron Hills.

On June 28, 2022, Sami Hureini was reportedly arrested at a checkpoint in Massafer Yatta and is currently tried by the military tribunal of O iron for obstructing a soldier, assaulting him and entering a closed military area, following his participation in a demonstration on January 8, 2021.

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