The Israeli army has carried out a “census” of the Palestinian residents of an area threatened with displacement in the Masafer Yatta region, southern West Bank, raising residents’ fears of forced expulsion, Anadolu Agency reported.
Head of the Masafer Yatta local council Khaled Younis told Anadolu Agency that on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, the Israeli army stormed Palestinian communities threatened with displacement in the area, carrying out a population “census”.
Younis added that the soldiers asked about the residents of those houses and photographed their identity cards.
The census included the communities of Al-Majaz, Al-Tabban, Al-Fakhit, Janba, Safi Al-Tahta and Khallet Al-Daba, which are located within an area targeted for expulsion after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the residents’ petition against classifying the area as an army firing zone.
Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem published footage of Israeli soldiers photographing the identity cards of the residents and counting them.
The rights watchdog that monitors Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians posted on Twitter that in a “serious development”, the Israeli military: “Began what appears to have been preparations for the expulsion of some 1,000 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta.”
B’Tselem says that for years, Israel has implemented a policy that aims to force the residents of these communities to leave their homes in order to seize their lands.
According to the United Nations (UN), about 1,200 Palestinian, including 580 children, are at risk of imminent eviction and displacement in these communities.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Israeli settlers demolished agricultural rooms and tents used by Palestinian farmers in the area during the cultivation season of their lands.
Coordinator of the local protection committees Fuad Al-Amour told Anadolu Agency that the settlers: “Destroyed rooms and agricultural tents of the Al-Shawaheen family, which they built during the past months.”
According to data from the Israeli human rights movement Peace Now, there are about 666,000 settlers, 145 large settlements and 140 illegal outposts in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.