Following the Israeli Occupational Force’s demolition and seizure of tents funded by international donors on November 9th the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities has condemned the Israeli authorities. Robin Piper spoke out against the continued obstruction of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, saying it is unacceptable.

Tents were supplied to the community of Khirbet al Hamma after they were left without any shelter following the destruction of their homes by Israeli soldiers in September. They chose to stay and resist the attempts at ethnic cleansing and with the support of Jordan Valley Solidarity and international donors they were able to erect new tents supplied by Italian NGO GVC-Civil Volunteer Group.

The second round of demolitions inflicted on the community at the beginning of November is clearly aimed at punishing them for resisting and deciding to remain on their land. With the cold winter weather about to set in it is harder for residents to survive without shelter.

According to UN OCHA, Robin Piper said: “Targeting the most vulnerable of the vulnerable and preventing them from receiving relief – especially as winter sets in – is unacceptable.” Carrying out such demolitions during the colder seasons is a blatant attempt to push the community out of the Jordan Valley.

Piper also added: “Through a combination of law, policy and practice, Israel is building an increasingly coercive environment in Area C of the West Bank. This is both illegal and creating an entirely new reality on the ground.

Israeli settlers have established a new outpost near the illegal settlement of Giv’at Sal’it and have been blocking the access routes taken by villagers between Khirbet al Hamma and some of their traditional grazing areas. According to Amira Haas, writing in Haaretz, one of the settlers – Tzuriel – was allegedly seen armed with a gun.