Record Number of Demolitions in Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2016 – UN


Human Wrongs Watch

29 December 2016 – A recently completed United Nations study indicates that during 2016, Israeli authorities demolished or seized 1,089 Palestinian-owned structures throughout the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – thus displacing 1,593 Palestinians and impacting the livelihoods of another 7,101.

Demolition of Palestinian property in North ‘Anata, West Bank, July 2016. Photo: OCHA

Preliminary analysis of the data, gathered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), cites the highest figures for demolition and displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began recording the information in 2009.

The overwhelming majority of structures that were seized or destroyed were done so because of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

As of the end of November, some 51,000 Palestinians had been displaced in the Gaza Strip following the loss of their homes during the 2014 escalation – a decrease from the 90,000 who were displaced towards the end of 2015. Those who are still displaced depend on temporary shelter assistance provided by humanitarian organizations.

However, the number of casualties and injuries among both Palestinians and Israelis has decreased. As of the end of December, 109 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed, down from 169 Palestinians and 25 Israelis in 2015. Injuries were also reduced, most of which occurred during demonstrations and clashes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Throughout 2016, the movement of people was more limited than in the past. According to OCHA, a daily average of 531 Palestinians exited along the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing at the northern Gaza border throughout 2016, down from 602 in 2015 and 26,000 before the Second Intifada in September 2000.

07-12-2016settlement

Halamish, an Israeli settlement, stands in the northern West Bank, near the Palestinian village of Nabih Saleh. Photo: UNICEF/Mouhssine Ennaimi

The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing was opened only under exceptional circumstances, with a monthly average of 3,306 crossings in both directions – down from 25,186 in 2013 before the closure was imposed in October 2014.

There were, however, some improvements in the movement of goods from 2015, although the average truckloads of goods entering the Gaza Strip remained down from 2007, before the blockade was imposed.

The data also includes information about checkpoints and other barriers to freedom of movement, such as earth mounds, roadblocks, and road gates.

While the cumulative number of obstacles was five per cent higher than in 2015, the number of permanently staffed checkpoints was lower, thus allowing more movement.

Further information about OCHA’s data on the settlements, demolitions, deaths, injuries, displacement, and more is available here. (SOURCE: UN).

UN-backed $547 Million appeal launched for humanitarian needs in Occupied Palestinian Territory

The United Nations and the State of Palestine on 19 December 2016 jointly launched an appeal seeking $547 million in funding for 2017 to support the humanitarian needs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.**

Toddlers sit on the top step and their grandmother stands on a landing, inside their partially destroyed home in the Shejaiya neighbourhood of Gaza City. UNICEF/UNI188296/El Baba

“International support is critical to continue providing relief to vulnerable Palestinians,” said the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper, in a joint press release with the Minister of Social Development of the State of Palestine, Ibrahim AlShaer, and issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“But we are just trying to buy time – this humanitarian response must be coupled with bold political action to bring the world’s most protracted protection crisis to a close,” added Mr. Piper.

The plan seeks $547 million in donor funding to implement 243 projects by 95 organizations, including 47 national and 35 international non-governmental organizations, and 13 UN agencies.

Nearly 70 per cent of the requested funds target Gaza, where humanitarian needs are highest due to the blockade and recurrent hostilities, further exacerbated by the impact of internal Palestinian divisions.

According to humanitarian assessments, some 1.8 million people are in high need of protection in the occupied Palestinian territory and 1.6 million people are moderately to severely food insecure.

In Gaza, over 50,000 people remain displaced from the 2014 hostilities, while 8,000 people in the West Bank are at high risk of forcible transfer due to a coercive environment.

Throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, hundreds of thousands of people still have restricted access to essential services.

“This humanitarian funding appeal seeks to give a hand to the most vulnerable, the worst affected amongst Palestinian households across the whole occupied territory,” Mr. Piper said. (**SOURCE: UN).

2016 Human Wrongs Watch

 

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