Three UN special rapporteurs called on Monday for Israel to be held responsible for the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, acts they call "
In a press release, these three independent experts, mandated by the Human Rights Council but not speaking on behalf of the United Nations, called on the international community to take measures to put an end to "
the systematic demolitions or closures and deliberate destruction of housing (...), arbitrary displacement and forced evictions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank
According to UN experts, Israeli authorities in January demolished 132 Palestinian structures among 38 West Bank communities, including 34 residential structures and 15 donor-funded structures.
This total represents a 135% increase, compared to the same period in 2022, and includes five punitive demolitions.
The systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, the erection of illegal Israeli settlements and the systematic denial of building permits for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are akin to domicide
," said the three experts, including Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Rapporteur Special on Adequate Housing.
At the end of 2022, Balakrishnan Rajagopal called for "
" - the large-scale or systematic destruction of civilian homes during conflict - to be recognized as a separate crime under international criminal law.
The direct attacks on the homes, schools, livelihoods and water sources of the Palestinian people are nothing but attempts by Israel to restrict the Palestinians' right to self-determination and threaten their very existence
,” the experts said in the statement.
They reiterated their concern over the situation in Masafer Yatta, in the southern West Bank, "
where more than 1,100 Palestinian residents remain at imminent risk of forced eviction, arbitrary displacement and demolition of their homes, livelihoods and their water supply and sanitation structures
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Israeli tactics of forcible displacement and expulsion of the Palestinian population seem to have no limits.
In occupied East Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinian families also face the imminent risk of evictions and forced displacements, due to (...) discriminatory planning that favors the expansion of Israeli settlements
”, deplore the experts of the 'UN.
The colonization of occupied territories constitutes an "
illegal act under international law and comparable to a war crime
", they recall.
More than 475,000 Israelis reside in settlements in the West Bank, where 2.8 million Palestinians live.
On February 12, the Israeli security cabinet announced that it would authorize nine settlements in the occupied West Bank, after a series of attacks by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.