Home demolitions in the West Bank by Israeli forces in 2011 has displced almost 1,100 Palestinians, over half of them are children, according to a United Nations report released today.
The report cited that the number of affected Palestinians is over 80 per cent more than in the previous year.
“Demolitions and Forced Displacement in the Occupied West Bank” report stated that that an additional 4,200 people were affected by the demolition of structures related to their livelihoods.
The report was prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The report states that Israeli forces destroyed 622 structures owned by Palestinians including homes, animal shelters, classrooms and mosques – a 42 per cent increase compared to 2010.
In addition, over 60 per cent of the Palestinian-owned structures demolished in 2011 were located in areas allocated to Israeli settlements.
“The forced displacement of Palestinian families and the destruction of civilian homes and other property by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have a serious humanitarian impact.” – UN Report
The report points out that the impact on families’ psychosocial well-being can be “devastating.”
The report calls also on Israel to fulfill its obligation to protect Palestinian civilians and to administer the territory for their benefit.
Since 1967 and the beginning of the Occupation, now in its 40th year, the Israeli government has demolished over 18,000 houses belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. These demolitions are part of a web of policies designed to force Palestinians off their own land to make room for expanding Israeli settlements, construct a 26-foot high “separation barrier” that cuts deep into Palestinian territory, create a network of Israeli-only bypass roads, and generally “thin” Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants.
Ninety-five percent of these houses belong to innocent people and families and have nothing to do with terrorism or security; they are not charged with crimes nor detained as security risks. In 2005, the Israeli military admitted that their policy of punitive house demolitions was harmful to Israel’s interests and abandoned that practice.