The roughly 200 Palestinian villagers of Ein Samiya have been forcibly displaced by the Israeli army and settlers in what rights groups call a 'war crime'. (Photo: Al Jazeera)
The Palestinian community of Ein Samiya, near Ramallah, is compelled to relocate amid an increase in Israeli settler violence, said Yvonne Helle, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
On Monday 22 May, the Palestinian herding community of Ein Samiya began dismantling and leaving their homes, citing settler violence as their main reason. Until this week, Ein Samiya was home to 178 people, including 78 children.
“These families are not leaving by choice; the Israeli authorities have repeatedly demolished homes and other structures they own and have threatened to destroy their only school. At the same time, land available for the grazing of livestock has decreased due to settlement expansion and both children and adults have been subjected to settler violence,” said Helle. “We are witnessing the tragic consequences of longstanding Israeli practices and settler violence.”
Helle said in a statement that several communities have recently been displaced in similar circumstances, noting that since 2022, 81 Palestinians, including 42 children, have had to leave their communities of Wadi al-Seeq and Lifjim and similarly, last year, about 100 people left their community of Ras a Tin.
“Pursuant to international humanitarian law, the Government of Israel has obligations to protect Palestinians living under occupation and ensure that those responsible for violence against Palestinians are held accountable,” said the Acting Humanitarian Coordinator.
“Repeated demolitions, settlement expansion, loss of access to grazing land, and settler violence continue to cause concern about the coercive environment, which together with loss of homes and access to lands, generate more humanitarian need. Humanitarian actors are assessing the needs of the community and will continue to provide them with assistance,” she said.