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UNRWA, OCHA Condemn Forced Displacement of Refugees in West Bank

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JERUSALEM, April 22, 2012 (WAFA) – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) condemned the displacement of 67 Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank by Israeli authorities, Sunday said a joint press release.

It said that 67 Palestine refugees, more than half of them children, were forcibly displaced as a result of the eviction or demolition of their homes and other civilian structures by Israel.

The Director of UNRWA’s West Bank Office, Felipe Sanchez, condemned the demolitions, saying '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.”

He urged 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 the OCHA in the occupied Palestinian Territory Ramesh Rajasingham said, '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.'

The press release indicated several eviction incidents, including the demolition of the homes of seven refugee families in the Palestinian community of al-Khalayleh near Jerusalem, which resulted in displacing them for the third time in six months.

UNRWA and OCHA noted the forced eviction of two families from their homes in the all-Arab East Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina, adding that the homes were subsequently handed over to Israeli settlers, who reportedly intend to build a new settlement in the area.

The press release added that the Beit Hanina eviction was condemned by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, stating that this may run counter to international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

R.Q./F.R.

 

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