Monday, March 14, 2011

UN rights expert condemns sharp increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes
Source: UN News Centre

UN News Centre, 11 March 2011 – An independent United Nations expert has called on Israel to stop illegally demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including two apartment buildings in East Jerusalem where 150 people are about to be evicted, citing a recent surge in such actions.”This pattern of eviction, demolition, expansion of settlements, and settlers’ violent expropriation of Palestinian homes in the occupied East Jerusalem violates fundamental human rights, as well as provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention governing belligerent occupation,” UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories Richard Falk said in a statement. 
Since the beginning of 2011, Israel has demolished 96 Palestinian structures throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, consisting of 32 homes and other residential structures. As a result, 175 people, more than half of them children, have lost their homes, a sharp increase compared to the same period in 2010 when there were 56 demolitions and 129 people displaced. At the same time, Israeli settlements in the West Bank have continued to expand.

Mr. Falk described the decision to demolish the two buildings in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of East Jerusalem as “particularly disturbing,” noting the families were given only 10 days to vacate their homes last Sunday. He said Israeli authorities often seek to justify demolition of Palestinian homes on the grounds that the owners lack building permits, which are next to impossible for Palestinians to obtain.

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