UN agencies on Sunday condemned Israel for recent home demolitions in the West Bank which they say resulted in the displacement of 67 Palestinian refugees, more than half of whom are children.
In a joint press release, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that the evictions "may run counter to international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention."
The press release emphasized two specific incidents, both of which occurred on April 18. In the first, the agencies condemned Israeli authorities for demolishing the homes of seven refugee families in Al Khaleyleh, who had already been displaced twice in the past six months.
In the second, the agencies slammed Israel for evicting two Palestinian families
and subsequently handing their homes over to settlers. In the Beit Hanina neighborhood, Israel evacuated Palestinians from their homes after an eight-year legal battle found that the land was legally
purchased by Jews.
The European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah already condemned the evacuation
, stating that "settlements are illegal under international law."
The Director of UNRWA’s West Bank Office, Felipe Sanchez, stated that "the forced eviction of Palestine refugees and the demolition of Palestinian homes and other civilian structures in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law. We urge the Israeli authorities to find an immediate solution to enable the Palestinian population of the occupied West Bank, to lead a normal life, in full realization of their rights."
Head of OCHA in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Ramesh Rajasingham, said that "more than 1500 Palestinians have lost their homes as a result of demolitions and evictions since the beginning of 2011. Forced evictions and demolitions cause extensive human suffering, increase humanitarian needs and vulnerability."