Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territoryJamie McGoldrick, Director of West Bank Operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Gwyn Lewis, and Head of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (OHCHR oPt) James Heenan said in a joint statement that they were following very closely developments at Sur Baher.
“We are following very closely developments in the Sur Baher area of the Jerusalem governorate. Seventeen Palestinians, including nine Palestine refugees, face the risk of displacement, and over 350 others risk massive property loss, due to the Israeli authorities’ intention to demolish 10 buildings, including around 70 apartments, due to their proximity to the West Bank Barrier. One month ago, following the exhaustion of almost all domestic legal remedies, Israeli forces sent the residents, a ‘Notice of Intent to Demolish’ which will expire to morrow, 18 July,” they said.
“Demolitions and forced evictions are some of the multiple pressures generating a risk of forcible transfer for many Palestinians in the West Bank. Residents of East Jerusalem and adjacent areas have been particularly affected, with a significant rise in demolitions there in 2019,” the officials added in their statement.
“Amongst the seventeen Palestinians now at risk of displacement, nine of them are Palestine refugees, including an elderly couple and five children. For many refugees in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacement is both a living memory and an imminent risk. Displacement, particularly for the most vulnerable, is traumatic and has lasting consequences,” they said.
Also in the statement, the UN officials called on Israel “to halt plans to demolish these and other structures and to implement fair planning policies that allow Palestinian residents of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the ability to meet their housing and development needs, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”