The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has condemned Israel’s policy of punitive demolitions of Palestinian homes.
UNRWA says it is “gravely concerned” about a recent decision of the Israeli High Court of Justice to reject appeals filed by Palestine refugee families against two punitive demolitions in Qalandiya refugee camp. The implementation of the demolitions could now occur at any undefined time.
According to UNRWA, “six Palestine refugees are at risk of being made homeless as a result of the punitive demolitions. Further, although the Court stated the demolition of the home located in the most crowded area should not involve explosives, it could impact other neighbouring structures.”
The agency notes that on November 16, 2015, during a punitive demolition also in Qalandiya camp, 19 Palestinian refugees were displaced and 46 persons affected. Two refugees were also killed by Israeli occupation forces during the clashes that erupted during the operation.
UNRWA has affirmed that “punitive demolitions are illegal under international law”, urging “the Israeli authorities to put an end to the practice.” In 2015 and 2016, a total of 30 punitive demolitions were carried out, displacing 243 Palestinians, including 42 refugees.