Sunday 17 December 2017

Hundreds of rabbis call on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian homes

Palestinians inspect the demolished apartment of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi in east Jerusalem. AP Photo

Lizzie Dearden

More than 400 rabbis from around the world have called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Rabbis for Human Rights have written an open letter claiming Israel's stance is not in keeping with “international law and Jewish tradition”.

It comes after the country announced the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian homes in the Israel-controlled part of the West Bank known as Area C.

The pre-fabricated bungalows, funded by the European Union, are to be demolished as illegal structures because they were built without permits.

“Thousands have been forced to build without permits, and great human suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year,” the letter said.

“The State of Israel has an obligation to ensure that every human being under her control, each created in God’s Image, has a fair chance to build a home for him/herself and his/her family, irrespective of the current state of the peace process or differing opinions about what areas will be under Israel’s control in a future final status agreement.”

Read More: Israel slams Ireland over support for Palestine

A United Nations envoy for the Occupied Palestinian Territories raised opposition to the demolitions, saying that the planning policies applied by Israel in Area C discriminated against Palestinians thereby making it almost impossible for them to obtain building permits.

“In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless,” said James Rawley, the UN’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

“Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately.”

Read More: Israel resumes policy of demolishing Palestinian homes

Last month, the Israeli authorities’ demolished 42 Palestinian-owned structures over a three day period.

In 2014, it was recorded that 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem were destroyed by Israeli authorities, displacing 1,177 people.

Independent News Service

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