A bulldozer demolishes two Palestinian homes in Jabal al-Mukaber, Jerusalem, on 9 March 2019 (Photo credit: Afif Amera/WAFA/APAimages)
Over a period of two weeks – between 28 June and 18 July – Israel demolished 51 buildings and structures owned by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The demolitions, the report noted, led to the displacement of 40 people, including 21 children, and adversely affected the livelihoods of 500 people.
Approximately 47 of the 51 building structures were located in Area C of the West Bank, an area that comprises 61 percent of the occupied Palestinian lands in that region.
Four buildings were demolished in east Jerusalem, one of which was destroyed by its owners to avoid paying fines to the Israeli government.
The confiscation of land and destruction of Palestinian-owned buildings in Area C is justified by Israel as necessary to allow ‘firing zones’ for Israel’s armed forces.
Israel’s High Court ruled on 4 May that the Israeli army can evict the 1,300 Palestinians living in eight villages on the southern hills of Hebron, known as Masafer Yatta, so that the land can be turned into a training area for Israel’s armed forces.
The report also noted that military exercises carried out near Masafer Yatta temporarily restricted resident access to basic services, and posed a risk to the safety of residents.
Among the structures also destroyed in this period was a concrete wall that protected a water spring in a nature reserve near Nablus. The destruction led to the damage of a water valve and the water network that delivers water supplies to 22 households, or 132 people.
The killing of three Palestinian civilians during Israeli raids on the West Bank were also reported in this two-week period.
A special commission created by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) issued a report on 7 June that found the root cause of tensions and violence between Palestinians and settlers was Israel’s “perpetual occupation” of Palestinian lands.
The report found that Israel is “acting to alter the demography through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favorable environment for Israeli settlers.”
In response to the special commission report, the Israeli government blocked UNHCR officials from visiting the country, forcing them to gain their data and testimonies from Geneva and Jordan.
The Israeli government has called the report “one-sided.”
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has accused the UN of being a duplicitous organization which “condemns both the killer and the victim.”
In recent speeches, Nasrallah has praised the Palestinian nation for choosing resistance as a sign of waking up to the futility of relying on the Arab League, the UN, and the international community.