Middle East Monitor / February 14, 2023
The international community must take action to stop the systematic and deliberate demolition and sealing of Palestinian homes, arbitrary displacement and forced evictions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, UN experts said in a statement yesterday.
In January alone, Israeli occupation forces demolished 132 Palestinian structures across 38 communities in the occupied West Bank, including 34 residential and 15 donor-funded structures, reports have said.
This represents a 135 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022, and includes five punitive demolitions.
“The systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, erection of illegal Israeli [Jewish] settlements and systematic denial of building permits for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank amounts to domicide,” the UN experts said.
“Direct attacks on the Palestinian people’s homes, schools, livelihoods and water sources are nothing but Israel’s attempts to curtail the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to threaten their very existence,” the experts also said.
The experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations, reiterated their concern over the situation in the occupied West Bank’s Masafer Yatta villages.
They warned that more than 1,100 Palestinian residents there remained at “imminent risk of forced eviction, arbitrary displacement and demolitions of their homes, livelihood, water and sanitation structures.”
They said that “Israel’s tactics of forcibly displacing and evicting the Palestinian population appear to have no limits.”
The experts noted that “tens of Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem also face imminent risks of forced evictions and displacement, due to discriminatory zoning and planning regimes that favour Jewish settlement expansion – the act that is illegal under international law and amounts to a war crime.”
The experts’ statement came a day after Israel’s security cabinet announced it would ‘legalize’ nine outposts in the occupied West Bank.