Question of Palestine home
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
27 May 2008
- To date, more than 3,000 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank have pending demolition orders, which can be immediately executed without prior warning. At least ten small communities throughout the West Bank at risk of being almost entirely displaced due to the large number of pending demolitions orders.
- During the first quarter of 2008, Israeli authorities demolished 124 structures due to a lack of permits; this is more than the total number of demolitions carried out in the whole of 2007 (107). Sixty-one of the demolished structures were residential and led to the displacement of 435 Palestinians, including at least 135 children. Most of these demolitions occurred in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron areas. This trend, however, was discontinued in the following two months (as of 20 May), when only one structure was demolished.
- Children are frequently disproportionately affected by the demolition of their homes and the subsequent displacement of their families. According to a recent study, children are separated from their parents and face gaps in access to education, health facilities and clean water in the immediate aftermath of a house demolition.
- Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 Palestinian-owned structures lacking building permits have been demolished by Israeli authorities. However, following the division of the oPt into different jurisdictional areas in the framework the Oslo agreements, such demolitions have been restricted to areas classified as C, which cover approximately 62% of the West Bank territory. Demolitions are being carried out by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) also during military operations, including arrest operations, and due to proximity to the Barrier route.
- Over 400 Palestinian villages and towns (excluding East Jerusalem) have at least part of their built-up area in Area C. The number of Palestinians living in those areas is estimated at over 228,000. Among them, about 44,000 reside in 130 communities, whose built-up area lies entirely (greater than 99%) in Area C.
- Over 94% of applications for building permits in Area C, submitted to the Israeli authorities by Palestinians between January 2000 and September 2007, were denied. During this period 5,000 demolition orders were issued, and over 1,600 Palestinian buildings were demolished.
- Given the inability to obtain building permits, many Palestinians no longer apply and instead build without them in order to meet their needs, despite the ever-present risk of demolition.
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