Jews are systematically engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem on non-Jews, and have illegally demolished more than 111 buildings to make way for Jewish housing so far this year, according to official figures released in a protest note by the United Nations.
A statement issued by the United Nations’ Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Jamie McGoldrick, called for an “immediate halt to the Israeli authorities’ destruction of Palestinian-owned property in East Jerusalem.”
McGoldrick said that “demolitions in East Jerusalem have increased at a staggering pace over the last month, leaving tens of Palestinians displaced and others who have lost their livelihoods overnight. This must stop.”
As of 30 April 2019, 111 Palestinian-owned structures had been destroyed in East Jerusalem in 2019, either directly by the Israeli authorities or self-demolished by their owners to avoid hefty fines, following the issuance of demolition orders for lack of building permits. Of these, 57 per cent (63 out of 111) were demolished in April.
On 29 April alone, the Israeli authorities demolished 31 structures in multiple neighborhoods of East Jerusalem; this is the highest number of structures demolished in a single day in East Jerusalem since the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) began systematically monitoring demolitions in 2009.
Overall, more Palestinians were displaced in East Jerusalem in the first four months of 2019 than in all of 2018, 193 compared to 176.
“Some of the elderly refugees in Wadi Yasul who were originally displaced as a result of the 1948 conflict now face the prospect of losing their homes for the second time in their lifetime. For them and for the younger generations this cycle of loss is being perpetuated,” said Gwyn Lewis, director of West Bank Operations for UNRWA.
“As the occupying power of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel is obligated to ensure the welfare and well-being of the local Palestinian population,” said James Heenan, head of OHCHR in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“The implementation of the discriminatory Israeli zoning and planning regime cannot be invoked by Israel to justify any violation of international law.
“As we have seen from the numerous cases UNRWA has responded to in the past, displacement, particularly for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and children is extremely traumatic, destroys livelihoods, and separates families from their communities.”