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Aid groups appeal to Quartet to halt demolitions
Published Friday 21/09/2012 (updated) 23/09/2012 10:39
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Southern Hebron village Um Fagareh after Israeli forces demolished a
mosque, two houses, and a barn with children's pet rabbits.
(MaanImages/HO, Operation Dove)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The international Quartet of Middle East negotiators must take immediate action to stop 13 Palestinian villages from being destroyed and evacuated in south Hebron, a group of 30 international organizations said Friday.

The rare appeal comes after several development agencies received demolition or stop work orders for aid projects in the area.

Oxfam said it was given notice by Israeli authorities that it is not permitted to enter the villages to continue its development projects.

The Quartet -- comprising the UN, US, European Union and Russia -- was established in 2002 with a mandate to improve conditions for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders have increasingly questioned its relevance as the Israeli settler population in the occupied West Bank continues to grow, and with no prospect of peace talks on the horizon.

The coalition of aid and rights groups urged the negotiators to take concrete measures to press Israel to abide by international law when it meets in New York on Monday.

“The Quartet has issued 39 statements condemning the government of Israel’s violations of international law, yet the number of people displaced by unlawful demolition of Palestinian homes continues to increase at an unprecedented rate,” Country Director of Oxfam Nishant Pandey said.

The group notes that the demolitions have risen from a monthly average of 23 in 2009, to 64 in 2012.

Israeli military authorities announced in July they will evacuate eight Hebron villages in order to make space for a military firing zone, a measure which will leave 1,650 people homeless.

The aid groups say that five other neighboring villages are at risk of displacement as Israel has handed demolition orders to many of their homes.

Israeli firing zones take up around 18 percent of the West Bank, where 5,000 Palestinians live in 38 villages.

In total, Israel exercises full civil and security control over 60 percent of the West Bank. Israel says it only demolishes structures that are built illegally, while rights advocates say it is almost impossible for Palestinians to secure Israeli permits for even the most basic of structures.

International law experts say that under the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel must provide for the needs of the occupied Palestinian population, and are prohibited from demolishing any structure that has a civilian purpose.

The Israeli government holds the view that the West Bank is not under occupation, but has the status of "disputed territory", which limits the applicability of the provisions of international humanitarian law.

But after 62 European-funded development projects demolished by Israeli authorities in 2011, the aid groups are calling for leadership from the Quartet of negotiators.

"It’s time for the Quartet to stop the euphemisms: Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures without military necessity violate its obligations as an occupying power,” Human Rights Watch Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said.
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1 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
21/09/2012 13:06
To remember as well : the homes of farmers in the Gaza Strip (See http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8807:occupied-lives-nothing-left-to-hope-for&catid=145:in-focus )

2 ) Tibi / Tubas
21/09/2012 13:30
The PA's "Grace Period" Was Over in the first few years,
the PA encouraged and participated in the 2nd Intifada, and
the PA lost the ability to halt terror from Gaza, and
19 years have passed since the PA promised to negotiate borders, and still
the PA continues refusing to even attend Peace/Statehood Negotiations, so
IF THE QUARTET DOES ANYTHING at all, it should try to "halt" the PA's to refusal to Negotiate, or the demolitions will go on, & on, & on !!!!!

3 ) EE / UK
21/09/2012 15:00
Did they have building permits or not? You can not build something without permit.

4 ) @ EE-3 / USA
21/09/2012 16:58
Of course "they did NOT have building permits," or the construction
would have been legal, and Israel does NOT demolish legal structures !!

The "Aid group's appeal" is ridiculous, since this is an internal matter,
over which the Quartet has absolutely NO influence what so ever, but
- IF the Quartet were to even try "to halt demolitions",
- THEN it should also try to halt building without the required permits !!

5 ) Mel / USA
21/09/2012 17:14
The 'Quartet' is a DUET!It's USG(not 340 MILL Americans)&it's UKG,EUC,UN proxies)versus Russia! The EU,UN are subservient to USG(time to shake OFF the false gratuity of WW2 guys)which is meanwhile LOOTING UK/Europe bare with its economic-terrorist corrupt colonial CAPITALISM!EvenUSG is under global blowback,for colluding with Zionist pillage,not seen since Nazi's were in Czech/Poland,1930's.The Q's a Trojan Horse,a ruse.Like PA,PARIS,OSLO.2 create a theocratic ZIOSTAN in pluralistic PALESTINE!!

6 ) BDS / Canada
21/09/2012 17:43
The BDS against products produced by Israeli companies is gaining momentum. To all who care about justice, join the BDS movement and help break the barbaric occupation.

7 ) Dubner / US
21/09/2012 18:54
BDS is supported primarily by extreme leftists (Marxists/Anarchists/etc) and expatriate Arabs living in the West. They seek to influence the governments and people. So far, they had exceptionally minor successes. The only countries, whose Socialist politicians are speaking out in support of BDS are notorious for histories of unfriendly releations with the Jews: Ireland and Scandinavian countries. Other countires in Europe who have a rising Islamic population such as England, ignore BDS fringes.

8 ) @ Mel-5 & BDS-6 / USA too
21/09/2012 19:49
5- The Quartet has NO ability to "halt demolitions", anymore than the UN can enforce it's own resolutions (or Iran would NOT be able to continue towards acquiring nuclear weapons), so your comments regarding "DUET, subservient, false gratuity," etc. (though wrong) are irrelevant !!!

6- Your computer, cell phone, and medicines likely have components made in Israel, so please start "the BDS against Israeli products" in your own home, and the world will never hear your foolishness again !!

9 ) southparkbear / usa
21/09/2012 20:05
it is very interesting that all the PA project 100% are in area C is is totally under full israeli control. The PA has no interest in reaching any solution but very much want to paint Israel as the bad guy. As for BDS I only buy Israeli Kefiyeh

10 ) @ SPB #9 / USA too
22/09/2012 14:56
HONESTLY BOTH have an "interest in reaching a solution but very much want to paint THE OTHER, as the bad guy, and TO KEEP MOST of Area C. Negotiations did NOT fail, where there are now both essentially an Arab state (Area A/B & Gaza), living along side a Jewish state (Israel). They just failed to get the "1967-borders" state that the PLO wants.

11 ) Carol Schellet / Switzerland
22/09/2012 21:46
In response to number 7, whose information is incorrect : the BDS movement started in Palestine in 2005 (See http://www.bdsmovement.net/) . It has been gaining momentum ever since. It has many different aspects. For example, it asks that produce originating in the occupied Palestinian territories be labeled as such. The oldest supermarket chain in Switzerland, Migros, recently decided to adhere to this requirement. It is anything but an extreme group !

12 ) Rami / Palestine
24/09/2012 08:49
#9 No paint required. Perhaps a little spit and polish though.
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