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Israel demolished 'record number' of West Bank homes in 2016, reports B'Tselem

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem) said on Tuesday that "2016 saw a marked increase in the number of homes that the Israeli authorities demolished throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem." The rights group said that the Israeli occupation authorities carry out the demolition of Palestinian homes under the pretext that they are "lacking building permits."

"The scale of demolitions documented by B'Tselem this year is the most extensive since we began systematically documenting demolitions in 2004," the report pointed out. "In East Jerusalem, the authorities demolished 88 residential buildings and 48 other structures. Elsewhere in the West Bank, the authorities demolished 274 residential buildings and 372 non-residential ones."

The Israeli organisation said that these demolitions are indicative of Israel's efforts to limit Palestinian presence in the areas it seeks to take over, taking advantage of planning and administrative tools to that end.

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"The state is forcing tens of thousands of people to live in inhuman conditions, without basic living conditions and with no hope or possibility of bettering their situation," B'Tselem concluded. "This policy, implemented on the ground for years, is unlawful and immoral. It constitutes the forcible transfer of protected Palestinian residents within the occupied territory, whether directly, through the demolition of their homes, or indirectly, through the creation of impossible living conditions."

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B'Tselem added that this policy offers decisive evidence that Israel has long-term plans to continue controlling the area, while oppressing and dispossessing its residents.

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