Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank risk being displaced as the Israeli authorities threaten to tear down their homes and in some cases entire communities, a UN agency said on Tuesday. "To date, more than 3,000 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank have pending demolition orders, which can be immediately executed without prior warning," the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.
"At least 10 small communities throughout the West Bank are at risk of being almost entirely displaced due to the large number of pending demolitions orders," OCHA said, according to AFP. Most of the orders were issued because there were no construction permits.
In the first quarter of 2008, Israeli authorities razed 124 structures as compared with 107 for the whole of 2007, leading to the displacement of 435 Palestinians, 135 of them children, OCHA said. "Children are frequently disproportionately affected by the demolition of their homes and the subsequent displacement of their families," the study said.
Between January 2000 and September 2007, 5,000 demolition orders were issued, and over 1,600 Palestinian buildings were actually demolished.