953 buildings belonging to Palestinians in east Jerusalem and the West Bank were demolished or seized by Israeli authorities in 2022, the highest amount since 2016, according to a report by the European Union Representative Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip published on Tuesday.
Over 1,000 individuals were displaced and 28,446 were affected by the demolitions. Almost half of those displaced were children, according to the report. Nearly all of the structures were demolished due to a lack of building permits.
Over 80% of the demolished structures were located in Area C, which is fully under Israeli control. 29 of the buildings were located in Areas A and B and 143 were located in east Jerusalem.
Palestinians are largely restricted from building in Area C as they almost never receive building permits and 60% of Area C is designated as firing zones, state land, survey land, national parks or nature reserves.
From 2016-2020, 2,550 permit requests were filed, but only 24 were accepted, meaning less than one percent of permits were granted over a five-year span. In comparison, plans for 16,098 units were approved in Israeli settlements and permits were issued for at least 2,233 housing units in 2019 and 2020.
One of the cases noted by the report in Area C is Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, which was seized by the IDF to use as a military training site. Dozens of structures in the area have been demolished since May 2022 and 215 Palestinian households are at imminent risk of being removed from the area.
Additionally in 2022, 11 Palestinian-owned homes and three other structures were demolished by Israeli authorities on punitive grounds in Areas A and B. Additionally, four artesian water wells were sealed off in Area B, compared to two in the prior four years.
Of the Palestinian buildings targeted, 101 of them were humanitarian assets, including residential and livelihood structures, funded by the EU or its member states. The material loss of the targeted structures is €337,019, higher than the two previous years.
Settler violence against Palestinians
Alongside the demolitions, the UN OCHA reported 849 incidents of violence involving Israeli settlers, the highest number since OCHA began recording incidents involving settlers in 2006. 621 of the incidents caused damages, 124 caused casualties and 104 caused both.
"Demolitions have negatively affected Palestinian communities and have resulted in the continued displacement of Palestinians," read the report. "Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, are illegal under international humanitarian law."
"Demolitions in the West Bank have a devastating, long-lasting social and economic effect on Palestinian families and their children, making them further dependent on humanitarian assistance. In particular, the mental wellbeing of children are being impacted. In the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, many children suffer the trauma of watching their homes and schools being destroyed."
On Tuesday, a Palestinian commercial facility including a carpentry shop and a livestock breeding facility in Deir Ballut, west of Salfit, was demolished by Israeli authorities, according to Palestinian reports.