Israeli demolition orders boost vulnerability of thousands of West Bank Palestinians, UN warns

One of 7 structures demolished on 3 September 2015 by Israeli authorities in the East Tayba Bedouin community of the central West Bank, displacing 9 Palestinians, including 5 children, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits. Photo: UNOCHA occupied Palestinian territory (UNOCHA/oPt)

8 September 2015 – A new United Nations report shows that, according to official data released by the Israeli authorities, more than 11,000 demolition orders are currently outstanding in the 60 per cent of the West Bank over which Israel still retains direct control – known as Area C.

These orders – which affect an estimated 13,000 Palestinian-owned structures, including homes – are among the over 14,000 demolition orders issued by the Israeli Civil Administration between 1988 and 2014.

Area C is home to some 300,000 Palestinians and 77 per cent of the demolition orders affect structures located on privately-owned Palestinian land, according to the report, produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“These orders heighten the vulnerability of thousands of poor Palestinian households, some of whom are at imminent risk of forcible displacement,” said the Office.

The report comes in the context of a rise in demolitions in the West Bank, with 143 Palestinian structures having been demolished during August 2015 – the highest such number in five years.

Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank are at particularly high risk of forcible transfer due to an official Israeli plan to relocate them. Structures in eight of these communities have been demolished since 17 August, OCHA noted.

“As we have said repeatedly, the Secretary-General calls on the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures, to revoke plans that would result in the forcible transfer of Palestinian communities, and to implement an inclusive planning and zoning regime that will enable Palestinians’ residential and community development needs to be met,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon, told reporters in New York.


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