Palestinians pick through houses demolished by Israeli authorities in the West Bank village of Khalat Aldabe, south of Yatta, June 17, 2019. (Wissam Hashlamon/Flash90)
Over recent weeks, Israeli authorities demolished and seized dozens of Palestinian structures, and displaced scores of civilians, including children, a UN official has reported.
Briefing the UN Security Council (UNSCO) on the situation in the Middle East during a Monday session, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said Israeli authorities demolished or seized 28 Palestinian-owned structures.
Mladenov said 11 other structures were demolished by their owners following the receipt of demolition orders by the Israeli authorities.
Such measures have resulted in the displacement of 47 people, including 12 women and 19 children.
Of the structures demolished, 18 were in East Jerusalem. Most of them were targeted due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, said Mladenov.
He added that during the reporting period, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court ordered the eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, pursuant to a lawsuit brought by an Israeli settler-related organization.
He warned that some 80 other families in the area could be affected by similar eviction proceedings.
In his briefing, the UN official said that on 20 February, the Prime Minister announced that he had approved the construction of some 3,000 housing units in the settlement of Giv’at Hamatos. He also declared that he would also allow the commencement of planning processes for 2,200 housing units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Har Homa.
“These projects, if implemented, would consolidate a ring of settlements cutting between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, significantly constraining the possibility of a future contiguous Palestinian state”, warned Mladenov. “I reiterate that all settlements are illegal under international law and remain a substantial obstacle to peace.”
Mladenov said the threat of annexation remains high, adding that the UN Secretary-General has consistently spoken out against unilateral steps and plans for annexation.
“Such steps, including the possible annexation of territory in the West Bank or similar moves, would have a devastating impact on the prospect for a two-state solution”, said Mladenov. “They would close the door to negotiations, have negative repercussions across the region, and severely undermine opportunities for regional peace.”
As part of the same session, Mladenov said “it is time to find our way back to a mutually agreed mediation framework that ensures meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can resume”, in accordance with resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly.