UN officials, on Wednesday, called on Israel to halt plans for mass demolitions in the neighborhood of Sur Baher, East Jerusalem.
This came in a statement by Jamie McGoldrick (Humanitarian Coordinator), Gwyn Lewis (Director of West Bank Operations for UNRWA), and James Heenan (Head of OHCHR in the occupied Palestinian territory), according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
â€śWe are following very closely developments in the Sur Baher area of the Jerusalem governorate. Seventeen Palestinians, including nine Palestine refugees, face the risk of displacement, and over 350 others risk massive property loss, due to the Israeli authoritiesâ€™ intention to demolish 10 buildings, including around 70 apartments, due to their proximity to the West Bank barrier. One month ago, following the exhaustion of almost all domestic legal remedies, Israeli forces sent the residents, a â€śNotice of Intent to Demolishâ€ť which will expire tomorrow, 18 July,â€ť the UN officials said in their statement.
â€śDemolitions and forced evictions are some of the multiple pressures generating a risk of forcible transfer for many Palestinians in the West Bank. Residents of East Jerusalem and adjacent areas have been particularly affected, with a significant rise in demolitions there in 2019.
â€śAmongst the seventeen Palestinians now at risk of displacement, nine of them are Palestine refugees, including an elderly couple and five children. For many refugees in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, displacement is both a living memory and an imminent risk. Displacement, particularly for the most vulnerable, is traumatic and has lasting consequences.
â€śWe join others in the international community in calling on Israel to halt plans to demolish these and other structures and to implement fair planning policies that allow Palestinian residents of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, the ability to meet their housing and development needs, in line with its obligations as an occupying power,â€ť they concluded their statement.
~Palestinian Information Center/Days of Palestine
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.