36 human rights organisations demanded on Wednesday for Israel to put an end to the demolition of Palestinian homes in the areas under its control in the West Bank.
The organisations, in a joint statement, said: "Since the resumption of the peace process in July, Israel has destroyed 207 Palestinian homes and property in the occupied West Bank, displacing 311 Palestinians, over half of whom are children."
The statement pointed out that: "These demolitions, in areas under Israeli control," known as area C and which constitutes 60 per cent of the West Bank, "have driven Palestinian families from their communities and their land, increasing poverty and the need for humanitarian assistance."
The Israeli army, which has full control over area C, does not grant building permits except in a very restricted manner, thus forcing Palestinian residents in the West Bank to build without permits, according to Palestinians and various human rights organisations.
The statement also argues that: "Demolitions often occur to facilitate the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, with 60 per cent of demolitions occurring in Palestinian communities close to settlement zones."
Among the human rights organisations signing onto the statement are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, the Carter Centre and Christian Aid. They are all demanding the "immediate cessation" of the demolition operations.
Thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday throughout the occupied territories and in cities around the world to protest against Israeli plans to ethnically cleanse tens of thousands of Bedouin from their homes in the Negev.