“These condemnable acts have a devastating impact,” said Barbara Shenstone, the West Bank Field Director for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
“I call on the Israeli authorities to cease demolitions and evictions in occupied areas which are in contravention of Israel’s obligations under international law, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a party,” the UN official added in a press release.
A day earlier, Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, also condemned Israel after visiting the site of a home that had been demolished 24 hours earlier.
The nine-member extended Subuh family, whose home in the Ras al-Amud district of East al-Quds was destroyed on December 21, has been living at the location of their demolished home in two tents.
Israeli authorities gave the family just one day to destroy their home and threatened to demolish the house in 24 hours unless they complied. The family destroyed the house themselves at a cost of around USD 16,500 rather than pay the Israeli officials to do so, which costs twice as much, the report added.
Moreover, under similar orders from Israeli authorities, the four-member al-Shukiwi family was forced to raze their home in another district of East al-Quds on December 19.
Shenstone noted that while children around the world are enjoying the holiday season in their homes, the children from these families have suffered the trauma and indignity of watching their homes being destroyed.
After witnessing the demolition of his home, one of the children, aged two, said “all I want to do is die.”
The UN says there has been an almost 45 percent increase in demolitions in 2010, during which 396 Palestinian structures were demolished in East al-Quds and other areas under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, as compared to 275 in 2009. Consequently, 561 people have been displaced, including 280 children, and the livelihoods of over 3,000 people have been affected.