Ben Hartman
The Jerusalem Post
December 14, 2011 - 1:00am

An all-time high number of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes as a result of house demolitions east of the Green Line, a consortium of left-wing groups said on Tuesday.

“Israeli authorities have stepped up unlawful demolitions in the West Bank including east Jerusalem over the past year, displacing a record number of Palestinian families from their homes,” the statement released by over 20 groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam International said.

In the statement, Jeremy Hobbs, executive- director of Oxfam International, said “the increasing rate of settlement expansion and house demolitions is pushing Palestinians to the brink, destroying their livelihoods and prospects for a just and durable peace.

“There is a growing disconnect between the Quartet talks and the situation on the ground. The Quartet needs to radically revise its approach and show that it can make a real difference to the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”

The statement claims that “since the beginning of the year more than 500 Palestinian homes, wells, rainwater harvesting cisterns and other essential structures have been destroyed in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians, UN figures show. This is more than double the number of people displaced over the same period in 2010, and the highest figure since at least 2005.”

The statement also referred to what it said is a marked increase in the past year in incidents of settler and police and army violence against Palestinians.

Deborah Hyams, Amnesty International’s “Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinian Authority” researcher, said “not only do house demolitions violate the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [of which Israel is a signatory], but also the Geneva Convention’s requirements of an occupying power.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) called the United Nations report from which the figures were derived “a one-sided, biased report that was printed without taking comment from the relevant factors; therefore it’s impossible to refer to the claims presented on its pages.”

COGAT added that they “and the security forces that are responsible for law enforcement in Judea and Samaria will continue to work professionally and transparently to control and enforce illegal construction, both Israeli and Palestinian, in Judea and Samaria.”


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