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UN Reports Increase in Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Structures

UN Reports Increase in Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Structures

Sunday, 29 December, 2019 - 05:15
Israeli military machinery demolishes a Palestinian building in the village of Sur Baher which sits on either side of the Israeli barrier in East Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli occupation authorities have demolished and seized over six hundred Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of 2019, according to a new UN report.

The report, entitled “Protection of Civilians”, from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 617 structures have been demolished or seized so far this year, displacing 898 Palestinians.

It noted that the figures represent a 35 and 92 percent increase respectively, compared with the same period in 2018.

Additionally, over 20 percent of all structures targeted this, and some 40 percent of all donor-funded aid structures were located in firing zones, which cover about 30 percent of Area C, an administrative division of the West Bank, set out in the Oslo Accord.

The OCHA further highlighted that Israeli forces uprooted or chopped down about 2,500 trees and saplings during a demolition operation in a shooting area east of Nablus, and that the trees were part of a recreational area that served about 14,000 residents of Beit Furik town and nearby Khirbat Tana village.

The report went on to say that Israeli authorities have demolished 29 Palestinian buildings or forced their owners to demolish them in Area C and occupied east Jerusalem during the past two weeks, under the pretext that they have been constructed without proper permits. The demolitions led to the displacement of 45 Palestinians and incurred losses on more than 100 others.

Moreover, Israeli forces injured 14 Palestinians, including at least three children, in several incidents across the West Bank.

The UN says Israel has advanced or approved plans for over 22,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank.

According to the report, Israeli settlers injured four Palestinians and damaged about 330 olive trees and seven vehicles during eight attacks in the West Bank over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials said Saturday that an Israeli plan made public by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to enable settlers to register Palestinian lands in areas classified as C in the land registry of the Israeli Ministry of Justice proves that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is on the right track.

The ICC last week decided to open a war crime investigation of Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The statement by Bennett proves that the ICC was right in initiating action against Israel, said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Another PLO Executive Committee member, Ahmad Majdalani, said Bennett’s decision is a manifestation of the colonialist mentality and an extension of the plan by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex the occupied Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank.

He considered the decision an attempt to seize the land in order to prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

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