Israeli demolitions in Palestine 'increase by 250 percent' in just two weeks, UN warns
According to a report by OCHA, 70 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or grabbed by Israeli forces under the pretext of lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 90 people and affecting over 280 others between the period of 2 and 15 June.
The sharp rise in demolitions has led to a 250 percent increase in such instances, the UN agency said.
The global body said in its fortnightly report, which covers the period between 2 and 15 June, that 61 of the affected structures were located in Area C, which is under full Israeli military rule.
Nine of the structures had provided as humanitarian assistance to impoverished Palestinians. Among the hardest hit areas was Massafer Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, where the Israeli authorities demolished 17 homes and other buildings and structures crucial to Palestinians in the area.
Occupied East Jerusalem was also badly affected by Israeli violence. Israel forced four Palestinian families to demolish their own homes and other structures to avoid extortionate fees.
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At least 90 olive trees were set on fire by settlers and occupying forces in Nabuls' Burin village and Salfit's Kafr al-Dik.
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various crimes against Palestinian civilians.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.
Often, Israel forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permit.
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.