Jerusalem, 28 March 2014
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley today expressed concern over the Israeli authorities’ demolition of a two-story building in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of At Tur on 26 March.
The building included two apartments, a mosque, and a medical centre. The demolition resulted in the displacement of a family of seven refugees, including five children, and directly affected 24 other Palestinians, including 10 children.
“I am deeply concerned about the ongoing displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and destruction of their private property.” said Mr. Rawley. “These actions cause unnecessary humanitarian suffering and increase tension. They also run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law. Demolitions must halt until Palestinians have access to a fair planning and zoning regime that meets their needs.”
Building permits are extremely difficult for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to obtain. Some 35% of East Jerusalem land has been allocated for Israeli settlements, while only 13% is available for Palestinian development, much of it built up already.
Displacement rose significantly in East Jerusalem in 2013, with 298 Palestinians forcibly displaced from demolitions compared to 71 in 2012. Thus far in 2014, 85 Palestinians, including 45 children, have been displaced and an additional 93 have had their livelihoods affected.