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28 Aug, 2018

Israel continues Palestinian home demolitions, displacements in July 2018

JERUSALEM, August 18, 2018 (WAFA) – The month of July 2018 recorded the highest number of Palestinian structures Israel has demolished or seized (54), and of Palestinian civilians displaced (97) in the occupied territories, since January 2017, a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory said on Friday.

It said that the cumulative number of structures targeted so far in 2018 (251) has remained below the figure in the equivalent period of 2017 (286). All of the incidents during July took place on grounds of lack of building permits.

The largest incident took place on 4 July in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar, in Area C of the Jerusalem governorate, an area that is under full Israeli military and administrative control, where 19 structures were demolished, including residences, animal sheds, kitchens and a mobile latrine. Although none of the structures demolished was donor-funded, three EU-funded water tanks were damaged during the incident. Overall, 51 people, including 33 children, were displaced and another 13 were affected.

In the nearby community of Jabal al Baba, a caravan funded by an EU Member State that served partly as a kindergarten and partly as a women’s center and once a week as a clinic, was seized. This structure was self-dismantled by the community in April 2018, upon receipt of a seizure warning, and re-installed the following month.

A third Palestinian Bedouin community, Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu, in the same area as Abu Nuwar and Jabal al-Baba, is awaiting an Israeli court ruling on whether it will be demolished or not and its 180 residents are displaced.

The three Palestinian Bedouin communities are among 18 located in or around the E1 settlement plan area, to the east of Jerusalem, which face the risk of forcible transfer due to the coercive environment exerted on them, said the OCHA report.

Also in Area C, the Israeli authorities demolished a large water reservoir in the herding community of Al Farisiya, near Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley. The reservoir was provided as humanitarian assistance with funding from EU Member States, and had provided access to water to 22 families, comprising 148 people. The community is sandwiched between two settlements and previously faced mass demolitions, in February 2016.

In Barta’a al-Sharqiya, a village located in the closed area behind the separation barrier in the Jenin governorate, the Israeli authorities issued stop-work orders against 17 structures, including four inhabited homes built 30 years ago.

Of the 20 structures demolished during the month in East Jerusalem, two homes were self-demolished by their Palestinian owners, in the Beit Hanina area, following an Israeli High Court ruling in favor of Israeli settlers claiming ownership over the land on which the homes were built. As a result, 19 people, including eight children, were displaced. The two houses also had pending demolition orders on grounds of lack of building permits.

In recent decades, Israeli settler organizations, with the support of the Israeli authorities, have taken control of properties within Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and some 180 Palestinian families are currently facing eviction cases, filed mainly by settler organizations, said OCHA.