UN says Israel destroys Palestinian Bedouin homes

AFP , Sunday 22 Apr 2012

At least 54 Palestinians displaced after Israeli army demolishes their West Bank homes, UN reported

UN agencies in the occupied West Bank said on Sunday that Israel last week destroyed 21 homes of Palestinian Bedouin refugees, making 54 people including 35 children homeless.

A joint statement from the refugee agency UNRWA and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs condemned the April 18 demolition of the structures at Khalayleh north of Jerusalem, along with the removal the same day of refugees from two houses in annexed east Jerusalem.

"The forced eviction of Palestine refugees and the demolition of Palestinian homes and other civilian structures in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law," UNRWA's West Bank director, Felipe Sanchez, said in the statement.

"We urge the Israeli authorities to find an immediate solution to enable the Palestinian population of the occupied West Bank, to lead a normal life, in full realisation of their rights", he added.

Israeli officials could not immediately confirm or deny the Khalayleh demolitions.

The European Union on Saturday condemned the east Jerusalem eviction, in which 14 Palestinians were removed from two houses in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood ahead of Jewish settlers moving in.

The EU's diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah said in a statement that they were "deeply concerned by the plans to build a new settlement in the midst of this traditional Palestinian neighbourhood."

"Settlements are illegal under international law," it added.

Israeli police evicted the Natshe family from their Beit Hanina homes after Jewish settlers won a court battle over ownership.

It was the first successful attempt by settlers to secure property in the well-heeled Arab district in the northern part of east Jerusalem.

Israel captured east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War, and considers all the city to be its "eternal, undivided" capital. It does not consider construction in the eastern sector as settlement building.

But the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state, and furiously denounce any move by Israel to buy or build property there.

The international community considers all Israeli settlement on occupied land to be illegal under international law.

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