UN decries Israeli plan to demolish Bedouin homes

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The UN human rights experts on Thursday expressed grave concern about an Israeli court’s decision to uphold an Israeli plan to demolish the entire Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar Ab al Helu in the West Bank.

"This ruling paves the way for the eviction of 181 inhabitants and constitutes an involuntary move that would likely amount to forcible transfer," the UN special rapporteurs, Michael Lynk and Leilani Farha, said in a joint statement Thursday.

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar are the descendants of Bedouins who were expelled from the Negev by Israel after 1948, and who were relocated to the West Bank.

"The individual or mass forced transfer of protected persons within an occupied territory is a grave breach of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Forcible transfer also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute, that may lead to individual criminal responsibility. The experts also said that forced eviction is a gross violation of international human rights law," the experts said.

"We are concerned not only for the future of the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, but also for the fate of dozens of other Palestinian Bedouin and herder communities across Area C who live a traditional lifestyle on the land," the experts said.

The experts also called upon Israel to respect the rights of the Khan al-Ahmar residents to remain on their lands and to have their community status regularized.

Red Cross to send two surgical teams with 50-bed surgical unit

"To help with an overwhelming rise in medical needs in Gaza, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is sending two surgical teams, additional medical specialists and an influx of supplies to fortify medical facilities struggling to assist residents affected by the recent violence," ICRC said in a statement on Thursday.

Since protests and associated violence in Gaza flared on March 30, more than 13,000 Palestinians have been wounded, including more than 3,600 by live ammunition, some multiple times, for an estimated total of nearly 5,400 limb injuries, ICRC said.

"The ICRC’s priority is to help gunshot wound victims. Some 1,350 people with complex cases will need three to five operations each, a total of more than 4,000 surgeries, half of which will be carried out by the ICRC teams," ICRC said.

"The ICRC initiative, which will include the opening of a 50-bed surgical unit, is part of a $5.3 million budget extension for Gaza. The ICRC surgical teams and medical experts will be based in a wing of Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza. Other hospitals in Gaza and the Palestine Red Crescent Society will also benefit from the assistance," ICRC said.

Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since last December when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On May 14, the U.S. relocated its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, drawing condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world and further inflaming passions in the Palestinian territories.

Since March 30, at least 118 Palestinians have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire in the eastern Gaza Strip.

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