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Number of Palestinians displaced by Israel in 2019 already exceeds 2018 total

August 23, 2019 at 10:25 am

A Bedouin woman protest against the demolitions of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces in Umm Al-Hiran on 18 January 2017 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]

The number of Palestinians displaced by Israeli occupation authorities in the first seven months of 2019 has now exceeded the total number of people displaced in all of 2018.

According to new data published this week by UN OCHA, Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) demolished or seized 66 Palestinian-owned structures in July, displacing 47 and affecting the “livelihoods or access to services of nearly 8,000 others”.

These demolitions bring “the cumulative number of people displaced due to demolitions in the first seven months of 2019” to 481, compared to 472 displaced in 2018.

July saw 52 structures demolished in Area C of the West Bank, “all on grounds of lack of building permits”. Palestinians are systematically denied permits by Israel’s discriminatory planning regime.

The number of structures demolished in Area C so far this year now stands at 223, according to UN OCHA, which represents an increase of 64 per cent “compared to the equivalent period in 2018”.

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The most recent demolitions included the targeting of 12 structures in Sur Baher, nine of which were residential buildings. Criticising this incident, UN officials stated that “Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law”.

Eight of the targeted structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank were “water cisterns provided as humanitarian assistance and serving four communities in the Hebron governorate with funding from the EU and its member states,” UN OCHA stated.

Overall, during July Israeli occupation forces demolished or seized 24 donor-funded structures while six others “received demolition or stop work orders”. This is the largest number of donor-funded structures targeted in a single month since January 2017, UN OCHA reported.