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  • Palestinian demonstrators react from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip Jan. 18, 2019.

    Palestinian demonstrators react from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip Jan. 18, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 January 2019

Palestinian activists claim the ongoing destruction of Palestinian structures in occupied Palestine is part of a general policy of ethnic cleansing.

During 2018, Israel reportedly demolished or seized 460 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, a 10 percent increase compared to the year before according to a report issued Saturday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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Two of this month’s demolitions were on punitive grounds while the rest were the result of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.

From 2006 until Dec. 31, 2018, Israel demolished at least 1,401 Palestinian residential units in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. This has left more than 6,200 people without their homes, including at least 3,134 minors.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor issued a warning in October 2018 stating that if Israel destroyed the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, it could constitute a war crime.

Khan al-Ahmar, the Palestinian Bedouin village in the Occupied West Bank, housing a mere population of 180 villagers, had been in the middle of a major international debate last year.

Palestinian activists claim the ongoing destruction of Palestinian structures in occupied Palestine is a key element of a general policy of ethnic cleansing, pushing Palestinians from their territories while expanding Jewish-Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law . 

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians. The current right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has been significantly expanding illegal settlements, approving and building thousands of housing units and structures at the expense of Palestinian lands and villages.


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