Israel Demolished More West Bank Homes in First Half of 2016 than All of 2015

12 residential structures were demolished by Israel. (Photo: via UNRWA.org)

In the first half of 2016, Israeli authorities demolished more homes in the West Bank than they did during 2015, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

B’Tselem reported that, “From January to the end of June 2016, the Civil Administration demolished 168 homes in the West Bank, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless – 384 of them minors.”

In comparison, throughout 2015 the Civil Administration demolished 125 homes, leaving 496 Palestinians, including 287 minors, homeless.

According to the information released by B’Tselem, from the beginning of 2006 to 30 June 2016, Israel demolished at least 1,113 homes of Palestinians in the West Bank alone, excluding East Jerusalem, leaving at least 5,199 people, including at least 2,602 minors, homeless.

These figures only relate to homes that were demolished on the grounds that they were built without a permit.

They do not include punitive demolitions enacted on the homes of suspected Palestinian attackers and their families, which is a form of collective punishment for the families of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis.

During Israeli demolitions not only homes but also various structures that the communities rely on for their livelihoods such as livestock pens, bathroom facilities, and storage sheds were destroyed.

Joint List MK, Dov Khenin, denounced the demolitions at the Knesset stating, “It is an organized policy that aims to … force Palestinians to leave the area and … prevent the two-state solution.”

Natalie Grove, a UN representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also present at the Knesset, said: “This policy has led to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis,” adding that it “raises fears that Israel is not serious regarding the two-state solution.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel only granted 33 building permits out of 2,020 applications submitted by Palestinians between 2010 and 2014.

B’Tselem will present the data in the Israeli Knesset during a conference on Israel’s policy of Palestinian home demolitions in Area C.

(PC, WAFA, MA’AN)

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