You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Israel razing Palestinian buildings at 'alarming' rate: UN

AFP  |  Jerusalem 

Israel is razing Palestinian homes and other buildings constructed with international aid at an "alarming" rate, the UN says, with more demolitions so far this year than in all of 2015.

In total 121 structures funded partly or fully by international donors were demolished in the occupied West Bank between January 1 and March 2, overtaking the 108 from all of 2015, according to UN figures seen by AFP.

The projects include homes for Palestinians and at least one school, as well as temporary structures such as pens for animals and sheds.

Robert Piper, humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, wrote in response to an AFP query that the demolitions were "alarming".

"We have already surpassed the total number of humanitarian aid items destroyed or confiscated in all of 2015, in just the first 10 weeks of 2016," Piper said.

"We will be protesting to the Israeli authorities of course, as are many in the diplomatic community."

Israel says the projects are built illegally so can be demolished, but aid groups argue that obtaining necessary permits is nearly impossible.

COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body responsible for implementing government policies in the Palestinian territories, declined to comment on the number of demolitions, saying only that it takes "enforcement steps against any illegal construction" after issuing demolition orders.

Moti Yogev, an MP from the far-right Jewish Home party who heads an Israeli parliament sub-committee on the West Bank, said the rise in demolitions was likely in response to European Union measures on imports of goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"I have no doubt that the government's firm stance is in part a result of the unilateral measures taken by Europe," said Yogev, whose party has ministers in cabinet.

In November, new EU guidelines were issued forcing member countries to label imported produce from the settlements, sparking condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The UN's Piper said a number of factors may have contributed to the increase in demolitions, including the EU decision, growing domestic pressure on the government amid a wave of Palestinian attacks and a "renewed push to advance settlement expansion plans in these areas.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Tue, March 08 2016. 18:58 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU