Israel urged to halt WB home demolitions 29Jan12 January 29, 2012

Press TV  -  28 January 2012
The UN humanitarian coordinator has called on Israel to stop demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, saying the “occupying power” has responsibility to protect the people.

“Israel, as the occupying power, has a fundamental responsibility to protect the Palestinian civilian population under its control and to ensure their dignity and well-being,” said Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian territories.

The UN official made the remarks on Friday when he was visiting the village of Anata in the West Bank where Israeli forces had destroyed several Palestinian homes earlier this week.

A new report released by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) said that the number of Palestinian homes ruined by Israel in the West Bank dramatically increased in 2011.

According to the report, more than 1,100 Palestinians in the West Bank, including children and women, were displaced last year — an 80 percent increase from 2010 — due to demolition of their homes by Israelis.

The report echoes a recent statement released by over 20 groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam International at the end of 2011.

“Israeli authorities have stepped up unlawful demolitions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem (al-Quds) over the past year, displacing a record number of Palestinian families from their homes,” said the statement.

In the statement, Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International, said “the increasing rate of settlement expansion and house demolitions is pushing Palestinians to the brink, destroying their livelihoods and prospects for a just and durable peace.”

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