Citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized eight structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, displacing 26 people and affecting 29 others, according to the biweekly Protection of Civilians Report covering the period between 24 December 2019 and 6 January 2020 published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory.
It said five of these structures, including three previously provided as humanitarian assistance, were demolished or seized in two herding communities located in areas that have been closed by the Israeli authorities for military training, or “firing zone”. The other three structures were located in East Jerusalem.
According to the UN agency, a total of 621 Palestinian structures were demolished or seized in the West Bank during 2019, the majority on grounds of lack of permits, displacing 914 Palestinians; these figures represent a 35 and 95 per cent increase, respectively, compared with 2018.
It also said that in 2019, Israeli forces killed 15 Palestinians and injured 3162 others, including 104 by live ammunition, during protests and clashes across the West Bank.
On 1 January, said OCHA, the Israeli authorities uprooted 147 olive trees, which were 25-30 years old, affecting the livelihood of eight Palestinian families from al-Jaba’ village in the Bethlehem district claiming they were located in an area designated as ‘state land’. One of the affected families reported that an objection they had filed with the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, an arm of the military government, against the uprooting is still pending.
On 2 January, the Israeli authorities seized a 4X4 vehicle used to transport medical staff and equipment to a mobile health clinic in the Massafer Yatta area of southern Hebron. The vehicle’s crew was detained for a few hours. Without this mobile clinic, residents are forced to travel longer distances to access primary health care services.
The grounds for the seizure of the vehicle, which was provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, remain unclear, said OCHA. Massafer Yatta is designated as a “firing zone” and its 1,300 residents face risk of forcible transfer.