Israel has demolished 296 Palestinian structures in 2021, UN humanitarian office says

Israel has demolished 296 Palestinian structures in 2021, UN humanitarian office says
2 min read
07 April, 2021
Nearly 300 Palestinian structures have been demolished by Israel in the first three months of 2021.
Israel has carried out regular demolitions of Palestinian homes [Getty]

Nearly 300 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank in the first three months of 2021, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has found.

At least 296 structures, including homes and businesses, were demolished and 461 people displaced as a direct result of Israel’s actions, according to the UN agency's data

Statistics show that demolitions have continued despite coronavirus restrictions and the global pandemic. In 2020, 851 structures were demolished in total and some 1,001 Palestinians were displaced.

This was an increase from 2019, which saw 623 structures destroyed and 907 displaced.

Most of the demolitions have been occurring in the Palestinian community of Khirbet Tana in the West Bank and Jabal al Mukabbir.

Under Israeli military law, Palestinians cannot build structures in the area without permits, which are typically refused, and demolitions are common.

Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

Four out of five of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, and applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of all Palestinian building permit applications across the occupied West Bank were approved by Israel, according to the UN.

The cost of a permit for a single home is estimated to be in the region of $30,000.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem have accused Israel of creating "a Kafkaesque reality that leaves Palestinians almost no way to build legally".

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