JERUSALEM, Wednesday, May 3, 2023 (WAFA) - During the first quarter of 2023, the Israeli occupation authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized 290 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. All but 19 of the structures were targeted for lacking building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain. As a result, 413 people, including 194 children, were displaced, and the livelihoods or access to services of over 11,000 others were affected, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The number of structures targeted in the first quarter of 2023 has increased by 46 percent compared with the same period in 2022, which already saw the highest number of demolitions recorded in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 2016.
Forty-three of the targeted structures in communities located in the Israeli army-controlled Area C of the occupied West Bank had been provided as humanitarian aid, said OCHA. An additional 11 donor-funded structures, including two elementary schools, received stop-work orders. The total number of donor-funded structures targeted since the beginning of 2023 (43) is 26 percent higher than during the same period in 2022 (34 structures).
During the reporting period, the incident that resulted in the most structures demolished occurred on 27 February, in Lifjim community in Nablus. Citing the absence of Israeli-issued building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished 15 donor-funded structures. As a result, three households comprising 17 people, including 10 children, were displaced and the livelihoods of another 14 people, including eight children, were affected.
The incident that affected the largest number of people took place on 23 January, when Israeli authorities sealed off an under-construction water well in Habla (Qalqilya) in Area B, without prior notification. The well would have been the sole drinking water and irrigation source for about 5,000 dunums of cultivated land. Some 8,000 Palestinians from 1,300 families in three surrounding villages were affected.
More than 35 percent (102 structures) of all structures targeted (demolished and seized) in the first quarter of 2023 were residential, resulting in the displacement of 413 Palestinians, including 194 children. This is 78 percent higher than the number of people displaced during the same period in 2022. Seventeen of the affected homes were donor-funded humanitarian assistance to 17 Palestinian households in seven communities. Four of these households were displaced for the third time since February 2022 in the herder community of Mantiqat Sh’ib al Butum community, near Yatta in southern Hebron.
All of the nonresidential structures that were targeted between January and March (188 structures), supported the agricultural, herding and commercial livelihoods of communities, including animal shelters, storage rooms, and agricultural roads. Twenty-six of these structures were donor-funded humanitarian aid delivered to 11 Area C communities in response to previous demolitions.