Rabbis for Human Rights are drawing attention to an interagency call to end demolitions:
The Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes and property and the number of Palestinians displaced by these demolitions reached a five-year high in 2013. Throughout the period of peace negotiations in 2013, demolitions accelerated across Area C and East Jerusalem, with a 43 percent rise in demolitions and a 74 percent rise in displacement compared to the same period in 2012.
International and local aid organizations have faced increasingly severe restrictions in responding to the needs created by the unlawful demolition of civilian property, in violation of Israel’s obligation to facilitate the effective delivery of aid. In 2013, 122 residential and livelihoods structures provided by international donors were demolished by the Israeli authorities. In addition, at least 65 items of aid, including tents, were confiscated.
The destruction and obstruction of aid delivery is so extensive that this week the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced its decision to suspend the distribution of shelter assistance to people whose homes were demolished in the Jordan Valley, where there was a 127 percent annual increase in demolitions in 2013.
Such demolition of civilian property violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits demolitions unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.
In light of the alarming trends, we the undersigned local and international faith, aid, development, and human rights organizations call again for an immediate halt to the demolitions of Palestinian homes, and for Israel to facilitate immediate, full and unimpeded humanitarian access so that aid can reach people in need.
1. Action Against Hunger (ACF)
2. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
3. Al Haq
4. Broederlijk Delen
6. Christian Aid
7. CCFD- Terre Solidaire
10. Handicap International
11. Heinrich Boll Foundation
13. medico internationa
14. Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)
15. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
18. Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH)
19. Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA)
20. Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) 21. Terre des Hommes CH
22. Terre des Hommes Italy
23. Solidaridad Internacional-Alianza por la Solidaridad (SI- APS)
25. World Vision West Bank- Jerusalem- Gaza
*The above figures were all compiled using data available from UN OCHA’s Protection of Civilian Database from 1 January 2009- 31 December 2013. The database records a total of 663 demolitions in 2013, 390 of which occurred in the Jordan Valley. In 2012, the database records a total of 172 demolitions in the Jordan Valley. Between 28 July 2013 and 31 December 2013 there were 286 demolitions resulting in the displacement of 452 people, as compared to 200 demolitions displacing 260 people from 28 July 2012- 31 December 2012
For an update on recent demolitions, click here.