Quartet action needed to keep Palestinian villages on the map
Demolitions have tripled in three years, with villages in Hebron Hills now under threat
The government of Israel’s eviction and demolition plans for 13 Palestinian villages in the Hebron Hills  come as demolition and displacement rates have hit a three-year high, adding to the uncertainty about the future for Palestinians living in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank, a group of 30 aid, development, and human rights organizations warned today.
The communities are targeted for demolition or expulsion from the area as the government of Israel plans to use the land for the expansion of an Israeli settlement and to create a closed military zone .
The organizations are calling on the Middle East Quartet, who will be meeting informally on Monday, 24 September in New York, to visit the affected communities and address the violations that are happening on the ground. The agencies said the Quartet needs to move beyond words and deliver a concrete plan of action that keeps Palestinian families in their homes while working to ensure all parties are meeting their obligations under international law. The Quartet’s plan must, therefore, press the government of Israel to immediately reverse policies and practices that violate international human rights and humanitarian law and lead to forced evictions, forced displacement, and demolitions in Area C.
Nishant Pandey, Country Director for Oxfam said:
“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. Words have so far failed to bring meaningful change to people’s lives and the Quartet must now show Palestinians and Israelis that it is committed to working towards a just, durable peace.”
The demolition and eviction plan for the Hebron Hills would leave 1,650 Palestinians homeless , without access to the land they need for farming and raising animals to feed their families. Many of them are already living in substandard conditions because of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian building in Area C.
Respecting human rights
Ann Harrison, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director for Amnesty International said:
“The Quartet must face the facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank: escalating demolitions and whole villages threatened with forced eviction. Ensuring respect for international human rights and humanitarian law should be the cornerstone of the Quartet's work. Only if it confronts these ongoing violations head on can the Quartet contribute to a just and sustainable solution."
The threat to villages in the Hebron Hills comes as new figures reveal that the rate of demolitions has tripled in the past three years, with the average number of people displaced increasing 98 percent during this same time .
Demolitions must end
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said:
"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. The Quartet should press the government of Israel to end these violations immediately."
The agencies said that the increasing concerns of Palestinians in areas which they were working with had prompted them to speak out now. Oxfam has recently had a mobile veterinary unit impounded in the area and was given notice that it is not permitted to enter the villages where it is working to help 148 families earn a decent living raising goats and sheep. A number of other agencies have received demolition or stop work orders for aid projects in the villages.
David White, Country Director for CARE International said:
“The families we work with are terrified that any day they could lose their homes and the health clinic provided by CARE International. Tomorrow they could wake up and everything they have worked their entire lives to build could be gone. We are providing people with essential health services, but no amount of humanitarian or development assistance can help people overcome this feeling of despair. The Quartet needs to put forth a plan of action that brings the security people desperately need to lead a dignified life.”
3 facts about Israeli settlements and their impact on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley
Notes to Editors
 The 13 villages include the Palestinian village of Susiya, which has received demolition orders due to its proximity to an adjacent Israeli settlement, and 12 nearby villages in an area that has been designated by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) as a closed military zone for the purpose of military training, referred to as “Fire Zone 918.” The 13 Hebron Hills villages are all located in Area C, which is the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel controls planning and zoning, as well as security.
 In total, more than 18 percent of the West Bank, which is equivalent to the amount of land in which the Palestinian Authority exercises civil and security control, has been designated as a closed military “fire zone,” rendering the areas effectively off limits for Palestinians. These “fire zones” are almost exclusively located in Area C, with approximately 5,000 Palestinians from 38 villages living within these areas, leaving them at increased risk of physical harm as well as eviction and demolition.
150 Palestinians are under threat of being displaced from Susiya, where the ICA has handed over demolition orders for more than 50 structures including homes, a community center, solar panels and renewable energy systems, animal shelters, and other income generating structures. Another 1,000 Palestinians have been issued orders of eviction from 8 villages within “Fire Zone 918.” An additional 500 people from the 4 other villages within “Fire Zone 918” are at increased risk of displacement due to demolition orders against their homes. In recent months, some structures including aid projects like (windmills, water cisterns, animal pens, and tents) have already been demolished in Susiya and “Fire Zone 918.”
 From 2009 to 2012, the monthly average of demolitions in the West Bank rose from 23 to 64, while the monthly average number of people displaced by Israeli demolitions of their homes rose from 52 to 103.
For more information, to schedule a field visit to the affected communities, or to arrange interviews with spokespeople please contact:
Willow Heske, Oxfam Media Lead for the OPTI at email@example.com, +972 (0) 597133646 or +972 (0) 546395002
Interviewees: The following experts are available to discuss the issues highlighted in the press release:
For information about the impact of forced evictions and the demolition of renewable energy projects - including wind mills and solar panels - in Susiya and “Fire Zone 918”, please contact Aya Shoshan, Comet-ME at firstname.lastname@example.org or +972-(50)-2292979
For information about the impact of demolition and eviction on Palestinian’s right to access water, please contact Ziyaad Lunat, EWASH at email@example.com or +972 (0) 595878715
For more information on the legal implications of eviction and demolition in “Fire Zone 918” please contact Stephen Wilkinson, Diakonia at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org or +972 (0)547568815 or Netta Amar-Shiff, Diakonia at email@example.com or +972 (0) 5432043
For general interviews in French, please contact: Nicolas Vercken, Conflicts & Humanitarian Advocacy Officer, Oxfam at firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 (0)618983797
Thx for speaking up for women: @MarsGlobal,#Mondelez & @Nestle have now moved from words 2 action http://t.co/laFtaWajFI #BehindTheBrands20 hours 46 min ago
UN agency and Slow Food group partner to boost livelihoods of small farmers http://t.co/l0YMT9yyk8 @SlowFoodHQ1 day 2 hours ago
RT @oxfamgbpress: Oxfam very relieved that Cyclone #Mahasen did not cause damage to vulnerable communities in Myanmar http://t.co/t2VwONPjs01 day 3 hours ago
RT @annamac33: The #ArmsTreaty can create a safer future for millions. Urge the US to sign! http://t.co/HRlNC8BcO31 day 4 hours ago
#FF Oxfam Global Ambassadors @KristinDavis @GaelGarciaB @driverminnie @liviafirth @baabamaal @HelenLMirren @BoseOfficial1 day 4 hours ago
#FF Oxfam Global Ambassadors @AnnieLennox @djimonhounsou @angeliquekidjo @firthcom @coldplay @RahulBose1 http://t.co/rXOrgldjlt1 day 4 hours ago
Thanks for speaking up for women! @MarsGlobal #Mondelez & @Nestle have moved from words to action http://t.co/pMvtbhesPh #BehindTheBrands1 day 6 hours ago
#FF the Oxfams! @IntermonOxfam @OxfamIndia @OxfamJapan @oxfamnovib @OxfamQuebec @Oxfam_mcm @OxfamItalia @oxfam_sol @oxfamfrance1 day 7 hours ago
#FF the Oxfams! @OxfamIreland @oxfamcanada @OxfamAustralia @Oxfam_DE @OxfamAmerica @oxfamgb @oxfamnz @oxfamhongkong @oxfammexico1 day 7 hours ago
Dismal levels of investment in agriculture a primary reason 1 in 8 people in the world are hungry http://t.co/orbRUxuVQo #govspendwatch1 day 22 hours ago
'A Jungle of Humanity - and Disorder', an interactive feature from @nytimes http://t.co/DxmATtGICV #SyriaCrisis #Zaatari1 day 23 hours ago
RT @benphillips76 How to Start Development’s Gutenberg Revolution http://t.co/DbieZs9UBZ #govspendwatch2 days 39 min ago
Social protection, #genderequality & #climatechange crucial to tackling inequality http://t.co/mKqSIBcceM via @guardian #govspendwatch2 days 2 hours ago
RT @louis_belanger Starting to see Syrian refugees all over #Beirut On promenade, on Hamra, outside grocery stores, in parking lots #Syria2 days 2 hours ago
Are governments meeting their #MDG spending targets? Read the blog http://t.co/3bF1lhH8AX #govspendwatch #MDGs2 days 3 hours ago