The UN Agency for Palestinian refugees has stated that Israel has displaced 149 children, through housing demolitions, in the West Bank so far this year. The figures show a stark increase on numbers displaced and housing units demolished for the same period last year.A total of 333 Palestinians were displaced from January to April as a result of the destruction of 78 residential units. The figures show a more than doubling of Israeli housing demolitions since the same period last year when 142 Palestinians were forcibly displaced.
The UN has urged Israel to halt the demolition of Palestinian homes. Chris Gunness, UNRWA spokesman, told Maan news agency that women and children live under the constant threat of harassment, eviction and disruption of their lives. EU commissioner Kristalina Georgieva echoed the UN statements on the issue, saying that Israel must be respect its obligations under international law.
For Palestinian activists the figures confirms the greater picture of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Territories of Palestinians. Demolitions have been targeted specifically around areas in which the Israeli separation barrier is being built, that would then be annexed into Israel on completion of the divide. The UN figures come after the revelation by Israeli human rights group The Centre for the Defence of the Individual that Israel covertly cancelled the residency status of 140,000 Palestinians abroad during the period of 1967 to 1994 and refused to allow them back into the country.
The news comes on the back of a Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions report of a distinct slow down in demolitions in East Jerusalem as a result of international pressure. City Counciler and co founder of the Israeli Commitee Against Housing Demolitions Meri Margilet said in a statement to the Jerusalem Post that “Right now house demolitions are at the minimum that is possible – there’s only been four or five demolitions so far this year…Why? Because the Americans came and said, This time, really, stop, no excuses, no stories.”