United Nations human rights experts warned Israel against proceeding with the planned demolition of Palestinian village Khan Al-Ahmar, in a strongly-worded statement issued yesterday.
The renewed criticism came as five European governments issued an unusual joint statement urging Israel to half plans for the forced eviction.
Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, and Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, slammed an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that gave authorities "the green light" to demolish West Bank community Khan Al-Ahmar.
It is gravely disappointing that a High Court can take a decision that is totally against the fundamental principles of international human rights law and international humanitarian law
said the pair. "This appalling decision could trigger the eviction of 180 inhabitants, including more than 90 children, putting them at imminent risk of forcible transfer," they added.
The UN experts stressed that "forced eviction constitutes a gross violation of the right to adequate housing under international human rights law", while "forcible transfer of people who are protected within an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and amounts to a war crime under the 1998 Rome Statute".
Lynk and Farha stated that "if the demolition of the village goes ahead and results in the residents having to move out of their current location, all those responsible for this international crime should be held accountable."
Meanwhile, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain issued a joint statement urging Israeli authorities to halt plans to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar.
"We…join [European Union] High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini in reiterating our call to the Israeli government not to go ahead with its plan to demolish the village – including its school – and displace its residents," the statement read.
"The consequences a demolition and displacement would have on the residents of this community, including their children, as well as on the prospects of the two-state solution would be very serious."