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90% increase in the number of Palestinian structures targeted by Israel in 2021: UN

In April, the Israeli occupation authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 23 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Ahram Online , Monday 31 May 2021
Occupied West Bank
A Palestinian woman sits holding a child while behind are seen Israeli security forces and soldiers in the village of Zif, southeast of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on May 31, 2021, during an Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes located within the "Area C" of the West Bank, where Israel retains full control over planning and construction. AFP
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The number of Palestinian structures targeted for demolition or seizure by Israel increased by 90 percent in one year, according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Monday.

In April, the Israeli occupation authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 23 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

This resulted in the displacement of 13 people, including nine children, and otherwise affected the livelihoods, or access to services, of over 100 others, according to WAFA.

All the structures were in Area C of the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem and were targeted due to a lack of building permits, which are “nearly impossible” for Palestinians to obtain, stressed the OCHA.

While the number of structures targeted in April is the second lowest this year, attributed to the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan on 13 April during which the Israeli occupation authorities traditionally halt most demolitions, the cumulative figure in 2021, as of end April, is 90 percent higher than its equivalent for the same period in 2020 (316 up from 166) and 129 percent higher for structures provided for humanitarian aid (110 up from 48).

One of the structures, located in the herding community of Susiya in the Hebron district in the south of the West Bank, in addition to a cover for an agricultural structure in Al-Khader in Bethlehem, had been provided for humanitarian aid.

In Khirbet Al-Ras Al-Ahmar, a small Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley, 21 donor-funded aid structures, including a 3.2km agricultural road, at a value of more than 60,000 euros, were served with stop-work orders.

The community, which is located in an area designated by the Israeli authorities as a "firing zone" for military training, is at heightened risk of a forcible transfer.

Also, in the northern Jordan Valley, an Israeli Settlement Regional Council handed several seizure orders against Palestinian-owned vegetable stalls in an Area C section of Bardala and Kardala villages in the Tubas district.

Legal partners have filed an objection with the Israeli Civil Administration, arguing that the Regional Council lacks authority to issue such orders against Palestinians, and noted that the orders are based on Israeli civil law, which is not applicable in Area C, said the UN organisation.

Ten structures were demolished in East Jerusalem, nine of them by the Jerusalem Municipality and one by the structure’s owner, following the issuance of a demolition order.

Six of the targeted structures were in Al-Isawiyya neighbourhood, affecting the livelihoods of 18 people, including 10 children. Another three livelihood structures were located in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood.

According to the affected families, the municipality demolished the structures before the expiration of the two-week notice given to them, as their lawyer was about to file an objection.

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