For Immediate Release
Protest in Front of UN Offices in Ramallah
Over 20 Palestinian communities and civil society organizations demand action to stop israel's ethnic cleansing in the jordan valley
RAMMALLAH - Today, protesters gathered in front of the United Nations office in Ramallah in response to the latest wave of home demolitions that have displaced the Palestinian Bedouin community in Abu al Jaj. The demonstration aimed at breaking the silence of the United Nations and the international community as a whole as the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley continues.
The protestors handed over a letter addressed to Secretary-General Ban ki Moon asking for immediate and effective action and released a video with proof of Hyundai's key role in the displacement of the communities calling for a boycott of the company.
On the 21st of May 2014, the houses and animal enclosures of 13 families were demolished in Abu Al Jaj Refugee Camp, located in the middle of the Jordan Valley, affecting 71 Palestinians. The morning demolition, aided by large Hyundai excavators under the protection of Israeli soldiers was carried out under the pretext of the camp homes being too close to “Ntsuwah” settlement.
This is only the latest episode in an ongoing policy of displacement and population transfer that began in 1947 and has continued with varying intensity. In the Naqab/Negev some 40,000 Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israeli are currently under imminent threat of forced transfer. As for the occupied West Bank, UNOCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) has documented during the years between 2009-2013 the demolition of a total of 2603 structures and the displacement of 4325 Palestinians from their homes. The majority of home demolitions have occurred in the Jordan Valley and other locations in Area C. Since the beginning of the year 611 people have already been displaced in the West Bank, along with 308 structures destroyed.
Jamal Juma', coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign comments:
These home demolitions, which de facto amount to the forced transfer and ethnic cleansing of our communities, could not be implemented without the active role of Israeli and international corporations, such as Hyundai, that provide the necessary equipment and profit from these war crimes. We ask these companies to stop their complicity and ask the United Nations to provide a list of the responsible state and non-state actors and to hold them accountable.
Since July 2011 UNOCHA has been officially informed by the Israeli Civil Administration of a ‘relocation plan’ of Bedouin communities and communities in area C. Still, no effective measures have been undertaken by the UN to halt these policies of forced transfer and ethnic cleansing and to tackle the root causes.
Jamal Juma' further adds:
Until today, the UN system and international humanitarian organizations have limited their response to ongoing documentation of facts and to ensure ‘humanitarian sustainability’ for the continual ethnic cleansing of our people. What we urgently need is effective action to stop the Israeli policies of home demolitions and forced transfer of our populations.
The protesters, including those who had travelled from the Jordan Valley for the demonstration, handed a letter to the UN office in Ramallah addressed to Security-General Ban Ki-moon. The letter served as a further reminder of the UN and wider international community of their obligation in the face of grave breaches of international law.