Soaring demolitions of Palestinian homes must stop: UN experts

“Israel’s tactics of forcibly displacing and evicting the Palestinian population appear to have no limits,” they said.

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United Nations rights experts called Monday on the world community to act to stop a dramatic surge in Israel’s “systematic and deliberate” demolition of Palestinian housing.

In the month of January alone, Israeli authorities reportedly demolished 132 Palestinian structures across 38 communities in the occupied West Bank, including 34 residential structures, the three independent experts said in a statement.


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The Special Rapporteurs for rights in the Palestinian Territory, the right to adequate housing and the rights of internally displaced people, said the demolitions marked a 135-percent increase compared to January 2022.

The figures are based on those of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“The systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, erection of illegal Israeli settlements and systematic denial of building permits for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank amounts to ‘domicide’,” they said.

In late 2022, the Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, called for “domicide” -- defined as the massive, arbitrary destruction of civilian housing in violent conflict -- to be recognized as a crime under international law.

“Direct attacks on the Palestinian people’s homes, schools, livelihoods and water sources are nothing but Israel’s attempts to curtail the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to threaten their very existence,” the experts said in Monday’s statement.

The experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations, reiterated their concern over the situation in the occupied West Bank’s Masafer Yatta villages.

They warned that more than 1,100 Palestinian residents there remained at “imminent risk of forced eviction, arbitrary displacement and demolitions of their homes, livelihood, water and sanitation structures.”

“Israel’s tactics of forcibly displacing and evicting the Palestinian population appear to have no limits,” they said.

“In occupied East Jerusalem, tens of Palestinian families also face imminent risks of forced evictions and displacement, due to discriminatory zoning and planning regimes that favor Israeli settlement expansion - the act that is illegal under international law and amounts to a war crime.”

The experts’ statement came a day after Israel’s security cabinet announced it would legalize nine settlements in the occupied West Bank following a series of attacks in east Jerusalem.

More than 475,000 Israelis reside in settlements in the West Bank, where 2.8 million Palestinians live.

Read more: Arab leaders warn Israeli actions in Jerusalem, West Bank threaten regional turmoil

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