Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on Monday that Israeli officials have escalated their policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and structures and displacing Palestinians from their neighborhoods over the past four months, while building thousands of settler units in the area.
The Geneva-based organization highlighted that such practices aim to perpetuate racial discrimination and eliminate the Palestinian Arab presence in the holy city.
It noted that Israeli officials have demolished 31 Palestinian homes since the beginning of the current year, half of which took place in the month of March. Sixteen of those houses were self-demolished by their owners in order to avoid paying fines and exorbitant demolition costs.
Moreover, Israeli authorities have confiscated three Palestinian houses and issued six eviction orders for other homes.
The officials have also issued eviction orders against entire Palestinian residents of Wadi al-Rababa neighborhood in Jerusalem al-Quds.
According to the rights organization, during the first four months of 2021, Israeli authorities also destroyed 27 commercial establishments and bulldozed other property such as water wells and walls.
Israeli officials also issued at least 40 demolition notifications for Palestinian residents of various neighborhoods of East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Israeli forces have seized Palestinian lands and bulldozed them during the mentioned period to build streets that serve settlers.
Additionally, the Tel Aviv regime green-lighted plans for the construction of 4,982 settler units during the period, in a move, which is viewed as a strong indication of the extensive racial discrimination practiced by its authorities.
During the preparation of this statement, the righs organization said, 28 Palestinian families comprising of about 500 people from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem have been threatened with forced displacement. The Israeli courts issued decisions legalizing the seizure of their homes, which threatens a mass displacement operation.
The statement noted that according to the United Nation’s estimates, until August 2019, there were eviction lawsuits filed against 199 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem al-Quds, most of them from settlement organizations, placing 877 people, including 391 children, at risk of displacement.
During the first four months of 2021, the forced evictions and systematic destruction of residential homes have had severe physical, social, economic and psychological effects on the affected families. These are crimes that may amount to ethnic cleansing.
Tariq al-Lewa, Chief Legal Officer at Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, said Israeli decisions and plans to evacuate and demolish Palestinians homes, and displace their residents in order to establish Jewish facilities reflect the apartheid system that the regime pursues through discriminatory laws and unfair policies.
The demolitions and evictions carried out by Israeli authorities are part of their efforts to forcibly displace Palestinians and change the demographic character of the occupied city, Lewa pointed out.
Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain. They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.