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Number of demolitions of Palestinian property doubles

March 16, 2023 at 3:59 pm

Israeli forces take security measures as they demolish Palestinian Mohammed Abu Tayr’s home [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Seventy-seven Palestinian-owned buildings have been destroyed since the extreme far-right government led by Benjamin Netanyahu took office, according to UN figures.

The figure is nearly double the number of demolitions imposed by Israel during the same period last year. Ministers such as Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich publicly advocate for the expulsion of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes.

During February alone, observers have pointed out, Israel’s occupation forces demolished or handed demolition orders for 187 Palestinian structures in the occupied territories.

Observers point out that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians didn’t end in 1948 when the state of Israel was formed; it is ongoing.

The Israeli-run municipality in occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday demolished two Palestinian-owned apartments under the pretext that they had no building licences. The building belonged to a Palestinian man and his sister in Sur Baher neighbourhood to the south of the occupied holy city. Each apartment was 90 square metres in size.

The Israeli occupation has demolished hundreds of homes on the grounds that they lack Israeli construction and renovation permits.

However, building licences are notoriously difficult and very expensive for Palestinians to obtain; they are rarely issued by the occupation authorities. With growing families, therefore, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem either must extend their homes or build new ones without licences.

Moreover, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said 145 people in East Jerusalem, of which half are children, had been displaced by demolitions this year.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.

International law regards both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as Occupied Territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.

READ: Israel demolishes two Palestinian apartments in occupied Jerusalem