[News] UN: Four-fold increase in Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes this year

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Apr 29 11:39:11 EDT 2016

*UN: Four-fold increase in Israeli demolitions this year*

April 29, 2016

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- UN figures released Thursday revealed a four-fold 
increase from last year in the rate of Israeli demolitions of 
Palestinian homes and structures, that have left a record-high 808 
Palestinians displaced since the start of 2016.

According to UN documentation, the Israeli authorities have destroyed 
some 588 Palestinian structures across the occupied Palestinian 
territory since January.

The over 800 Palestinians to be displaced this year far surpasses the 
number displaced during the entirety of 2015, while well over 1,000 
Palestinians were also affected after losing structures related to their 
source of income.

A number of homes have been targeted in punitive demolitions of the 
family homes of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on 
Israelis, most recently implemented in Qalandiya refugee camp last week. 
The policy has been widely condemned by the international community as 
collective punishment, executed in direct violation of international law 
on family members who have not carried out crimes.

However, the majority of demolitions took place in Area C of the West 
Bank --- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli 
military control.

The Israeli authorities have regularly demolished Palestinian homes in 
Area C since occupying the West Bank in 1967, but rights groups and 
Palestinian officials have grown increasingly alarmed by Israel’s 
renewed demolition campaign this year, accompanied by unprecedented land 

In the first week of April, 124 Palestinians were displaced in a single 
day from nine different communities, including the village of Khirbet 
Tana which has been destroyed four times over since the start of the 
year alone.

The UN’s Robert Piper following the Khirbet Tana demolitions warned that 
the Jordan Valley village faced imminent risk of displacement as a 
direct result of Israel’s efforts to push Palestinians out of the 
occupied area.

"It's hard to see how demolitions like the ones in Khirbet Tana are 
about anything other than pushing vulnerable Palestinians out of certain 
parts of the West Bank,” Piper said at the time.

The demolitions come as Israel’s mass confiscation of land south of 
Jericho in March and last week's retroactive confiscation of land near 
Nablus paved the way for the expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said last month that this year’s 
land grabs -- following a mass confiscation in Bethlehem in 2014 -- 
marked a level of confiscation by the Israeli government for the purpose 
of settlement expansion not seen since the pre-Oslo period in the 1980s. 
The group warned the increase marked a clear change in Israeli policy.

Israel this year also revamped construction of the separation wall this 
year in Bethlehem Cremisan, which will cut off Palestinian locals from 
vast swathes of private agricultural land while facilitating the 
contiguity of nearby illegal settlements.

The PLO’s Haneen Ashrawi in response to the upswing in demolitions 
earlier this month said: "Israel is yet again demonstrating its willful 
efforts to single-handedly destroy the chances for peace and stability 
and to create a situation where the two-state solution is impossible,"

Last week UN Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour 
denounced the “shocking” impassivity of the UN Security Council 
regarding Israeli violations of Palestinians’ rights and international 
law, specifically referring to demolitions and settlement expansion.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his part said: “The creation of new 
facts on the ground through demolitions and settlement building raises 
questions about whether Israel’s ultimate goal is in fact to drive 
Palestinians out of certain parts of the West Bank, thereby undermining 
any prospect of transition to a viable Palestinian state.”

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