A senior UN official has criticized Israel over the demolition of several tents in the occupied West Bank and said the action further plunges the Palestinians into misery.
“If the authorities ultimately responsible for these demolitions could see the devastating impact on vulnerable Palestinian communities, they might reflect upon the inhumanity of their actions,” the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Maxwell Gaylard, said on Monday.
He made the remarks as he visited a number of razed tents in the village of Khirbet Tana.
Israeli forces had bulldozed the tents the previous day.
“Demolitions of basic shelter and livelihood structures place serious strains on the coping mechanisms of communities affected, who have few other options to sustain their livelihoods,” Gaylard stated.
“Under international law, Israel, as the occupying power, is prohibited from destroying property belonging to individuals or communities except when absolutely required by military operations,” he added.
Some 250 people live in Khirbet Tana village, which is located in Israeli-controlled “Area C” in the northern sector of the West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The residents live in basic shelters and rely on herding and agriculture for their livelihoods.
Israel has been persistently proceeding with the demolition of Palestinian structures and construction of its settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The United Nations has repeatedly condemned Israel for defying international calls to halt its demolition and settlement construction activities.
In October 2010, Oscar Fernandez Taranco, the assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, criticized Israel for jeopardizing efforts to resolve the impasse in talks with the Palestinian Authority — negotiations derailed by Israel’s refusal to halt its West Bank settlement expansions.
"We have a brief and crucial window to overcome the current impasse. The UN secretary general continues to believe that if the door to peace closes, it will be very hard to reopen," Taranco told the UN Security Council.
Recently, Human Rights Watch’s representative Carroll Bogert criticized Tel Aviv for its "systematic discrimination" against Palestinians "merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin" and "depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads."
"While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp — not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes," Bogert said.
Palestinians view Israel’s unrelenting demolition and settlement construction activities as major hurdles smothering their efforts to establish an independent state on the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.