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UNRWA condemns Israel's 'Christmas Eve demolitions' in the West Bank
Published Wednesday 25/12/2013 (updated) 27/12/2013 10:30
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A father and child among their belongings following a recent home
demolition (Maanimages/UNRWA)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United Nations Palestine refugee agency on Wednesday condemned Israel's latest demolitions of Palestinian Bedouin homes in the West Bank, which UNRWA said displaced 68 people.

The latest demolitions in the West Bank, "the most recent of which occurred on Christmas Eve," have "severely threatened" the livelihoods of the families that lost their homes, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunnes said in a statement.

According to UNRWA, the demolitions that occurred near Ramallah and Jericho displaced 68 people in total, most of whom were refugees, and 32 of whom were children, "including a five year old girl who is paralyzed from the waist down."

The demolitions took place in Ein Ayoub, displacing 61, and in Fasayil al-Wusta displacing seven, Gunnes said.

"These are Bedouin communities who managed to weather the recent snow storms. Tents have been distributed by the Palestinian Red Crescent in coordination with the ICRC but this is hardly adequate considering night-time temperatures plunge to around zero. In addition, some 750 head of sheep and goats are without shelter at this crucial lambing season."

Gunnes said the home demolitions violated international law, and that they have forced communities who have historically been self sufficient to rely on international aid and "endure the pitiless seasonal weather in inadequate housing."

So far in 2013, at least 1,103 Palestinians have been displaced throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to UNRWA figures. Of that number, 34 percent are refugees.

Israeli Civil Administration has demolished "663 structures, including 259 residential units" in the West Bank this year.

"These demolitions are a common trigger of forced displacement and may amount to a forcible transfer and forced eviction under international humanitarian law and human rights law," Gunnes said.

"We call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law, most particularly to ensure the humane treatment and protection of the civilian Palestinian population at all times, including through an immediate halt to administrative demolitions."

A spokesman for Israel's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories -- the unit within Israel's Ministry of Defense that heads up home demolitions -- confirmed the recent demolitions.

"The structures at hand were illegal," the COGAT spokesman told Ma'an. "They had been built without a building permit."

Israel's High Court of Justice denied all petitions to keep the homes standing, he added.

He said the demolitions that UNRWA claimed took place in Ein Ayoub had actually taken place in Deir Ammar.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

It is illegal under international law to demolish property in occupied territory.
1 ) Mel / USA
25/12/2013 17:59
You can blame Zionist-led Israel all you want! BUT,that's like accusing a sociopath of doing something he/she LOVES i,e, causing pain,terror &suffering,physically,emotionally,economically,spiritually to human beings deemed below his/her level! Zionism has no conscience & it gobbles up others pain/loss. TAKE IT TO THE INTERNATIONAL LAW COURTS & condemn the PATRONS of Zionist-led Israel i.e. USG,UKG,EUC,Riyadh. W/out the HOST-patronage/support,parasite Zionism can do NOTHING!We love U Palestine!

2 ) Julie / USA
25/12/2013 21:06
"... have "severely threatened" the livelihoods of the families..." - proof, straight from the UN, that izrael is a very serious security threat to Palestinians. there should be a mass dispersion of Palestinian military officers everywhere in Palestine to protect the lives of the people from the zionazi terrorists. and any izraeli that poses a risk should be arrested and jailed immediately...and held in administrative detention, indefinitely.

3 ) Zainab Aljassim / Australia
25/12/2013 22:32
This is the real face of Israel and the Zionists

4 ) shirley / australia
25/12/2013 23:07
yes business as usual for the nazi state of isreal and as for idiot kerry suggestion link gaza west bank with soverign train useless isreal will soon find reason to end that pals need to get strip land along egypt border to get to red sea that is why us wants water deal it helps isreal control area jordan could build bridge linking west bank to this strip clear soverignty for pals and jordan even cede small area to pals this is why the idiot water deal is useless isreal build desalinationplants

5 ) shirley / australia
25/12/2013 23:26
these cruel useless nazi zionists and their arrogant good for nothing excuses along with their nazi judges who have no respect for internalional law but squel like pigs about anti semetic and the holocaust and p[ogroms in europe pathetic hypocrites why do pals need permits off illegal occupiers and wehy is not the pa starting the state of palestine building permits just what is the pa doing full stopand why not pal money end paris agreement and start building permits

6 ) jootoo / UK
25/12/2013 23:37
These goyim are outrageous. ''Christmas'', so what? Did UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunnes make any statements when the massed Arab nations attacked Israel on Yom Kippur? No he certainly did not, what an aresehole.The Bedouins do not even celebrate the birthday of our baby Jesus

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
25/12/2013 23:52
The murdered three year old, this -- it's Zio-Christmas!

8 ) Yesh Prabhu / USA
26/12/2013 04:57
Is that all the UN can do: condemning Israel's demolition of Palestinians' houses in the occupied Palestine? How about taking some meaningful action for a change? Or could it be that the UN is really powerless to act or too afraid of the pro-Israel governments such as the US, the UK, France and Germany, who have shut their eyes to Israel's atrocities against the unarmed and defenseless Palestinians? Yesh Prabhu, Bushkill, Pennsylvania

9 ) Rene / US
26/12/2013 09:05
Israel will perish.

10 ) toto handala / earth
26/12/2013 20:01
un troops to the holy land...1)impose democracy 2)return of the refugees 3)one person gets one vote on a secular society from water to water...

11 ) Outlier / USA
26/12/2013 20:14
Statement is beyond UNRWA's mission. Time for Palestinians to make their own future and UNRWA to close.

12 ) Anwar / Qatar
26/12/2013 21:33
"We call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law, most particularly to ensure the humane treatment and protection of the civilian Palestinian population at all times""- ShirleY, what u have said makes a lot of sense to me! these poor people have the right to have a home, travel & have the basix, food, water, land; to farm, votes, etc-"" -Isreal must abide by International Law & stop the demolitions now. Bridges need to be built between solidarity movements.

13 ) William Wallace / Scotland
26/12/2013 22:14
#10 - totoh: You can't just 'impose' on people as per your suggestion for 2, THEY choose, & you also can't dictate societal belief to them, otherwise it becomes more colonial dictation again. Whatever anyone in power thinks of religion (or not) at the end of the day, the people themselves have to choose their society. A Democracy (one person, one vote) is fine, but they need to define the tenets of it themselves. Look at Ancient Greek Democracy, very different to what the West holds to be so now

14 ) Colin Wright / USA
26/12/2013 23:49
To Jootoo #6: 'These goyim are outrageous....our baby Jesus.' How can you simultaneously claim to be Jewish and refer to 'our baby Jesus'? How do you celebrate his birth, by the way?

15 ) @ Colin-14 / \ Zionism/USA too
27/12/2013 19:07
I marvel at the idea of the Creator having a son born among his people,
and I celebrate CHRISTMAS, as the only holiday where many

16 ) gabi / australia
28/12/2013 01:56
beautiful dream , toto handala. #15 - no, you are not listening - it is Israel that wants the land free of Palestinians - read the Likud charter. It's program of stealing land and Jews only settlement building is being put in place continually, yet Israel bleats "we want peace , but they won't negotiate." And people like you swallow the Israeli propaganda! # 14 - they celebrate his birth by further incursions and demolitions on Christmas Eve (perhaps hoping the world's too busy to notice.)

17 ) Colin Wright / USA
28/12/2013 08:19
To @ #15: 'THAT THEY CLAIM, AND INSIST THAT IT BE FREE OF JEWS.' But they don't object to any of the Jews who are from Palestine (almost all of whom became Muslims or -- like Jesus -- Christians. What they object to are Jews coming from overseas, seizing their land, driving them off of it, and herding them into ghettos. You know -- like the other Nazis.

18 ) Maureen / Australia
30/12/2013 20:56
#15 iIt matters not whether you, or anyone else, believes Jesus was the son of the Creator of us all, what matters is, what Jesus taught... and for that matter what the Biblical Moses tried to teach... Love God, love your neighbour, no killing, no stealing...
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