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US lawmakers urge State Dept. to stop Israeli 'war crime' in Masafer Yatta

Israeli forces manhandle an elderly Palestinian during a protest on 20 May 2022 after the occupant regime razed eight Palestinian homes in Masafer Yatta, al-Khalil, Palestine. ( Photo by Reuters)

More than a dozen US House Democrats have sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling on the White House to take measures to stop the Israeli regime forces from forcibly seizing Palestinian land and expelling more than 1,000 people from their homes.

On May 4, an irresponsible Israeli regime kangaroo court, in pursuance of Tel Aviv's internationally-condemned and illegal policies, ordered the forcible expulsion of more than 1,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

In a letter to Blinken, 15 House Democrats led by Congresswoman Cori Bush called on the Biden administration to take immediate, concrete steps to prevent the ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes in the Masafer Yatta district of al-Khalil in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"Forced displacement and transfer by Israel of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta would be a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and would amount to a war crime," wrote US lawmakers -- including Bush, Andre Carson, Pramila Jayapal, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib -- in the letter.

"If Israel proceeds with its plans to forcibly displace the indigenous Palestinian residents," the lawmakers pointed out to the Biden administration in the letter, "the State Department and the US Embassy in Israel should immediately ... send observers to document the mass transfer, including details of the military units involved in these operations and the use of any US weapons."

This is the second such letter in a week urging the Biden administration to immediately take action against the regime's expulsion of Palestinians.

“The Biden administration and Congress must hold the apartheid government of Israel accountable for its atrocities against the Palestinian people,” Bush told Jewish Currents. “We must do all we can to ensure the Palestinian community of Masafer Yatta can stay in their homes and live in safety and freedom.”

Basil al-Adraa, a Palestinian journalist and activist has reported that the Israeli forces have demolished 22 Palestinian structures in Masafer Yatta in the past month.

He told Jewish Currents that some residents were forced to move to nearby caves in the al-Khalil area.

“All the residents are afraid of what’s going to happen,” al-Adraa said. “The Israeli military is demolishing schools, bulldozing roads, preventing peoples’ movement, confiscating their sheep. This is pressuring people to leave before the army physically removes them from their homes.”

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