The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley confirmed on Friday that, in the past three days alone, a total of 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have become homeless.He expressed concern over Israel’s recent spate of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
According to Rawley, “demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension.”
Home demolitions must stop immediately, Rawley demanded, in a press release that WAFA received.
UN concerns stem from the fact that some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families. Rawley explained: “At least eight of these structures were funded by international donors.”
Since 20 January, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has recorded the Israeli demolition of 42 Palestinian-owned structures in the Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jericho and Hebron governorates.
In addition to those displaced, 59 Palestinians were affected, mainly due to the demolition of structures essential for their livelihood, mostly animal shelters.
According to OCHA figures, in 2014, “Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people – the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008.”
Area C of the West Bank is under complete Israeli control.
Humanitarian and Legal bodies and institutions such as the UN, OCHA and B’Tselem confirm that the planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.
Having no other choice, many Palestinians are forced to build without permits to be able to provide a shelter for themselves and their families, risking having their buildings demolished, in the process.
Rawley demanded that Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met.