Hamas says the recent demolition of Palestinian homes and buildings in the northern Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and displacing their desperate inhabitants amounts to “ethnic cleansing”.
“The crime of demolishing homes in Himsa al-Fuqa is part of the systematic organized terrorism that is practiced by the Zionist entity on a daily basis against our people everywhere,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said in a press release on Thursday.
Qasem said a large-scale displacement of citizens and the ongoing annexation of Palestinian lands in the Jordan valley and elsewhere across the occupied territories reflects Israel’s disregard for international law.
Tel Aviv has constantly been pursuing and implementing a policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, he stressed.
Many homes belonging to Palestinians living in the town of Toubas and Himsa al-Fuqa areas of the Jordan Valley have been demolished by Israeli bulldozers over the past few months.
The Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations due to Israeli military exercises in the region. Much of the Jordan Valley is fully controlled by the Israeli military.
Hamas has already warned that Tel Aviv’s escalation of its demolition campaigns in the Jordan Valley is aimed at removing the true residents of the region in an attempt to replace them with Israeli settlers.
Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain. They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.
Hamas also denounced Tel Aviv for implementing its highly controversial annexation plans in the occupied lands through similar campaigns.
The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said there has been a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian houses being demolished by Israel in the occupied West Bank during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tensions have been mounting between Israelis and Palestinians in the wake of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank that has been met with far-and-wide regional and international objection.
The occupied territories are already reeling from former US President Donald Trump’s announcement of his decision on December 6, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s "capital" and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.
The plan also allows the regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, among other controversial terms.
Palestinian leaders say the deal is a colonial plan to unilaterally control historic Palestine in its entirety and remove Palestinians from their homeland, adding that it heavily favors Israel and denies them a viable independent state.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.