Israeli home demolitions leave 124 Palestinians homeless in one day

Published April 9th, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
Palestinian Bedouin Abu Nawar stands next to the remains of makeshift homes that were demolished by Israeli forces east of al-Quds (Jerusalem) in the occupied West Bank, on January 6, 2016. (AFP/File)
Palestinian Bedouin Abu Nawar stands next to the remains of makeshift homes that were demolished by Israeli forces east of al-Quds (Jerusalem) in the occupied West Bank, on January 6, 2016. (AFP/File)

Multiple demolitions in the occupied West Bank left 124 Palestinians homeless in a single day, 60 of them children, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a statement Friday.

A total of 54 structures -- including 18 donor-funded structures -- were demolished on Thursday in nine different communities located in Area C, the over 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.

The northern occupied West Bank village of Khirbet Tana saw its fourth demolition this year on Thursday. Israeli authorities demolished 34 structures in the village displacing 69 Palestinians, 29 of them children.

"Many of the demolished structures (in Khirbet Tana) had been provided by donors as relief after earlier demolitions," UNOCHA's statement added.

Khirbet Tana lies in an Israeli-declared military training zone, known as a "firing zone," which rights groups say Israel intends to fully annex.

Further demolitions in the central West Bank village of Nilin included structures of businesses that employed a combined 87 Palestinians.

Demolitions also took place in the village of al-Zayyem near Abu Dis east of Jerusalem and al-Khader in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem where residential, animal, and livelihood structures were demolished.

The extensive Israeli Civil Administration campaign included five Bedouin communities where UNOCHA recorded the demolition of 14 structures, which displaced 55 people, including 31 children.

The Bedouin communities affected by Thursday's demolitions are among 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central occupied West Bank at risk of being affected by forcible transfer by Israeli authorities as well the E1 settlement plan.

The E1 settlement plan aims to divide the West Bank through the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adummim, making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state - as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - almost impossible.

A further 293 people, including 98 children, were otherwise affected by Thursday's demolition campaign, UNOCHA added.
According to UN figures, Israeli authorities have demolished 539 structures in the occupied Palestinian territory's Area C since the beginning of 2016, compared to a total of 453 in 2015.

So far in 2016, 805 people have been displaced as a result of the demolitions, while 580 had been left homeless for all of 2015.

Thursday's wave of demolitions adding to the record-high number of Palestinians displaced comes as the Palestinian Authority is expected to present a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements to the UN Security Council in two weeks.

The resolution will be the first to directly condemn Israeli settlements as illegal under international law since the United States vetoed a similar resolution in 2011.

Despite repeated condemnations by the international community, Israel has come under little actual pressure to halt its settlement program, land seizures, or the forced displacement of Palestinian communities.

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