ICC Mulls Probing Israel Over Razing Palestinian Homes in Jordan Valley

Combatants for Peace organization asked the International Criminal Court to investigate what it terms a ‘war crime’ that occurred last month in Khirbet Humsah

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Residents of Khirbet Humsa sit in front of the villages' ruins
Residents of Khirbet Humsa, in the Jordan Vally, sit in front of the villages' ruinsCredit: Meged Gozani
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The International Criminal Court prosecutors’ office is mulling opening an investigation into the destruction of the homes of dozens of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Humsah at the behest of the Combatants for Peace organization, which termed the act a war crime.

The incident occurred last month when the Israel Defense Force’s Civil Administration razed the homes and confiscated the belongings of about 60 Palestinians in the village, which is located in an area that Israel has declared a firing zone. It was the third operation of this kind in the past year.

LISTEN: Israeli settlers call the shots as Palestinian fatalities mount

The villagers told Haaretz that in February they were informed that if they would move 15 kilometers west, the property that had been confiscated from them would be returned. Ultimately they turned down the offer by the Civil Administration for an alternative site.

“While military forces are acting to expel the shepherd community in Khirbet Humsah, they were able to find creative solutions for settlers living in and near Firing Zone 903, which shows that the need for ‘training’ is just an excuse to make demographic changes,” Combatants for Peace said in its ICC appeal, which was prepared by attorney Itay Mack; Rana Salman, the Organization’s Palestinian CEO; and Tuly Flint, its Israeli general coordinator.

Children play in the ruins of Khirbet Humsa in the Jordan VallyCredit: Meged Gozani

“Beyond the fact that army training can’t be regarded as an urgent military need, in the case of Khirbet Humsah that reasoning doesn't apply, since the army does not want the residents to return to their place of residence in or near the firing zone at the end of the training,” the organization wrote.

“Instead, the army has issued demolition orders and has destroyed the residents’ temporary structures, confiscated their meager belongings and has put them under immense pressure to voluntarily move somewhere else.”

According to the left-wing rights' organization B’Tselem, about 2,700 people live in approximately 20 shepherding communities in areas declared by the army as firing zones or adjacent to them in the Jordan Valley.

The residents of Khirbet Humsah, who mainly work as shepherds, come from the village of As Samu in the southern West Bank. They came to the Northern Jordan Valley in the 1970s, as areas available for shepherding began to diminish or water sources were closed due to army restrictions and settlement construction. After the 1948 war many As Samu families lost their lands, which ended up being under Israeli control behind the Green Line.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage