A report published on Tuesday, March 16, notes that the monthly average of demolition of Palestinian houses by the occupying Israeli authorities has increased by 65% in 2021 as compared to the previous year. According to the report, the first two months of the year 2021 reported the highest number of such demolitions since the UN started keeping a record of demolition of Palestinian houses in 2009.
The report, prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories (OCHA), says that in the month of February alone, at least 305 Palestinians, including 172 children, lost their homes and were displaced due to demolition of homes by the Israeli authorities. According to the report more than 435 people also their livelihoods as a result.
Just released the February 2021 report on demolitions and displacement in the #WestBank:
Read the full report here: https://t.co/xKdc3b4MpN
👇or follow the thread for highlights 👇
— OCHA oPt (Palestine) (@ochaopt) March 16, 2021
Israel has been undertaking demolition drives in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem since occupying the areas in 1967. Israel has a total control over 60% of the West Bank, called Area C, as per the Oslo Accords of 1993-95. Violation of rules or lack of permit is often cited as the reason for the demolitions. However, Palestine and the UN have noted that Israeli authorities discriminate while issuing permits to Palestinians, forcing some to wait for years before they can build houses.
There are more than 300,000 Palestinians living in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank. Israeli authorities seize Palestinian lands without any prior warning or notice in over 90% of the cases.
According to the report, Israeli authorities also target the houses donated by humanitarian organizations to the Palestinians. Such attacks too increased in the first two months of this year.
Israel has carried out 93 such demolitions already this year in comparison to a total of 157 demolitions last year. On Tuesday, Israel seized and dismantled three caravans used as shelter by the Palestinians near occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces also took over Palestinian land in Masafer Yatta, south of the West Bank on Tuesday in order to expand an illegal settlement, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
The demolition by Israeli authorities is seen as a way of confiscating Palestinian land to build illegal settlements and outposts in complete violation of international laws.