West Bank, ALRAY - Israeli occupation authorities demolished more than 506 Palestinian houses in West Bank and occupied Jerusalem since the beginning of 2020 under the pretext of lacking Israeli-issued building permits, United Nation office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, OCHA reported on Monday.
OCHA explained in the report that 134 Palestinian building out of the 506 demolished were just in occupied Jerusalem.
OCHA said Israeli forces brought down 22 buildings over the past two weeks, causing the displacement of 50 Palestinians and causing harms to around 200 others.
According to the UN office, eight demolitions out of 12 in East Jerusalem were carried out by the owners themselves in order to avoid fines and fees imposed by Israeli authorities.
The other 10 demolished structures were located in Area C, which accounts for around 60% of the West Bank territory.
Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Israeli authorities indicated that they would restrain their longstanding policy of demolishing inhabited Palestinian homes. Sadly, demolitions during the period March-August 2020 left 442 Palestinians homeless, further exposing many to risks associated with the pandemic. In August alone, 205 people were displaced, more than in any other single month since January 2017, Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick said.
A statement by McGoldrick read that when the Israeli authorities demolish, or force people to demolish, homes and sources of livelihood, they typically cite a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, due to the restrictive and discriminatory planning regime, and leaves them no venues for authorized construction.
The destruction of property in an occupied territory is prohibited under international humanitarian law, unless absolutely necessary for military operations. Moreover, the demolition of essential structures during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly worrying as it further compounds the overall situation in the West Bank.