Israel's policy of demolishing homes in the occupied West Bank is intended to reduce the Palestinian presence and empty the land of its indigenous people, the secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Organisation for the Victory of Jerusalem and the Holy Places said yesterday.
"The Israeli authorities have been demolishing Palestinian homes at higher rates in recent years over alleged security reasons and the absence of legal building permits," Hanna Issa told reporters. He noted that the Israeli intention is to Judaise the holy city.
Such demolitions, added Issa, are prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. "Demolishing homes constitutes a violation of the right to adequate housing under international law. The occupation authorities are, in stark contrast, very lenient with settlers' violations of building regulations in the illegal settlements."
Moreover, the Israeli government, he explained, has not taken any real steps to evacuate settlers from the Palestinian areas. "Instead, it has encouraged them to seize more Palestinian land."