A Palestinian man watches as an Israeli bulldozer demolishes a small house in Khirbit al-Tawil in the northern West Bank on October 29, 2013
A Palestinian man watches as an Israeli bulldozer demolishes a small house in Khirbit al-Tawil in the northern West Bank on October 29, 2013 © Jaafar Ashtiyeh - AFP/File
A Palestinian man watches as an Israeli bulldozer demolishes a small house in Khirbit al-Tawil in the northern West Bank on October 29, 2013
AFP
Last updated: December 25, 2013

UN condemns Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday condemned the Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to "immediately halt" them.

"UNRWA condemns the latest demolitions in the West Bank, which displaced 68 people, the most recent of which occurred on Christmas Eve," spokesman Chris Gunness said.

"The demolitions took place in Ein Ayoub near Ramallah and Fasayil al-Wusta near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, with 61 persons displaced in Ein Ayoub, and seven persons, all refugees, displaced in Fasayil al-Wusta," he added in a statement.

Gunness said at least 1,103 Palestinians have been "displaced," with 663 structures, including 259 residential units, demolished in the West Bank and east Jerusalem during 2013.

Gunness said Israel must "abide by its obligations under international law" and called for an "immediate halt to administrative demolitions."

A spokesman for the Civil Administration, the Israeli military body that administers parts of the West Bank, said the structures "were illegal because they were built without permits," adding that the Supreme Court had rejected appeals against their demolition.

Israel says it only demolishes structures that have been built without the required permission, but Palestinians say they are rarely granted permits.

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