More than 400 Palestinians displaced from the West Bank by Israel in six weeks

Between 1 January and 15 February Israeli forces dismantled or confiscated 283 homes

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The Independent Online

More than 400 Palestinians have been displaced from the West Bank due to Israeli demolitions in the first six weeks of the year, according to a senior UN official.

Between 1 January and 15 February, Israeli forces are accused of dismantling or confiscated 283 homes, displacing 404 Palestinians - including 219 children. 

The Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper, described the findings as “alarming” and called on Israel to halt demolitions in the West Bank.  

“The number of demolitions for just the first six weeks of 2016 is greatly alarming," he said.

"Over 400 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes – equivalent to over half the total number of Palestinians displaced in all of 2015.

“Most of the demolitions in the West Bank take place on the spurious legal grounds that Palestinians do not possess building permits. 

“In Area C, official Israeli figures indicate only 1.5 per cent of Palestinian permit applications are approved in any case. So what legal options are left for a law-abiding Palestinian?

“International law is clear – Palestinians in the West Bank have the right to adequate housing and the right to receive humanitarian assistance.

“As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect these rights.”

It comes after Israel announced it was to resume building settlements in the West Bank following an 18-month moratorium.

The demolition policy has received criticism worldwide. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, described the Israeli zoning and planning policy in the West Bank as restrictive and discriminatory.

The EU has also condemned Israel's actions, saying it made it impossible for there to be an independent Palestinian state.