Israel’s High Court rules in favor of forced population transfer

Palestinian children play in the West Bank community of Jinba, Masafer Yatta, May 6th, 2022. Israel’s Supreme Court has upheld a long-standing expulsion order against eight Palestinian hamlets in the occupied West Bank, potentially leaving at least 1,000 people homeless. (credit: Nasser Nasser /AP)
Over 1,000 Palestinians could now be expelled from their homes in Masafer Yatta.

By Elisheva Goldberg | Jewish Currents | May 10, 2022

“the idea that the residents are trying to take advantage of the legal system when they’ve sat through dozens of hours of hearings and can’t understand a single word [because the hearings are all conducted in Hebrew] sounds like the opposite of reality to me,”
— Maya Rosen, an activist with the #SaveMasaferYatta campaign

LAST WEEK, Israel’s High Court of Justice issued a ruling that clears the way for the Israel Defense Forces to expel over 1,000 Palestinians from a cluster of eight villages in Masafer Yatta, a region at the southernmost edge of the West Bank. The court rejected the residents’ petitions, after 22 years in which the residents lived in legal limbo. The ruling was published on the court’s website at 11 pm on the eve of Israeli Independence Day, a national holiday.

“It’s a harsh ruling—very harsh,” said Roni Pelli, an Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) attorney representing 100 families in the case. “They rejected every single petition and claim of the residents.” Neither the ACRI lawyers nor the affected Palestinians expected such an unforgiving ruling. “We thought the Supreme Court would do justice and stand with us,” said Ismail Abu Zahrah, who teaches English in Fakhit, one of the hamlets slated for eviction.

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