UN official calls for immediate halt to demolitions in East Jerusalem

A settler woman walks past an Israeli soldier standing guard in East Jerusalem. Photo: IRIN/Andreas Hackl (file photo)

28 March 2014 – A senior United Nations official expressed deep concern today about the ongoing displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the destruction of their private property following the Israeli authorities’ recent demolition of a two-story building there, which affected a family of refugees as well as some Palestinian 15 children.

The demolished building in At Tur – which included two apartments, a mosque and a medical centre – displaced a family of seven refugees, including five children, and directly affected 24 other Palestinians, including 10 children.

“I am deeply concerned about the ongoing displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and destruction of their private property,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley on this latest incident, which took place on 26 March.

These actions not only run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law but also cause unnecessary humanitarian suffering and increase tension, he said.

Mr. Rawley said “demolitions must halt until Palestinians have access to a fair planning and zoning regime that meets their needs” and explained that building permits are extremely difficult for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to obtain.

Some 35 per cent of East Jerusalem land has been allocated for Israeli settlements, while only 13 per cent is available for Palestinian development – much of it built up already.

The numbers rose significantly in East Jerusalem in 2013, with 298 Palestinians forcibly displaced from demolitions compared to 71 in 2012, said Mr. Rawley.

Thus far in 2014, 85 Palestinians, including 45 children, have been displaced and an additional 93 have had their livelihoods affected, he added.


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