Demolition of Palestinian homes spikes on eve peace negotiations
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/10/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
There has been a noticeable spike in the demolition of Palestinian properties on the part of the Israeli government. It's a cause of alarm for many aid organizations, seeing as it coincides with renewed U.S.-backed peace negotiations.
Various groups report that the 663 Palestinian structures torn down last year, the highest number in five years, 122 were built with international donor aid.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The number of demolitions increased by almost half, 25 aid organizations have said. There is also the issue of displacement of Palestinians -- by nearly three-quarters between July 2013, when the talks began, and the end of the year, compared to the same period in 2012.
The groups report that the 663 Palestinian structures torn down last year, the highest number in five years, 122 was built with international donor aid.
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In response, the International Red Cross has announced that it would stop delivering tents to Palestinians that have been made homeless by demolitions in the Jordan border region of the occupied West Bank. The Red Cross cites Israeli obstruction and confiscation of aid as the reason why.
"International and local aid organizations have faced increasingly severe restrictions in responding to the needs created by the unlawful demolition of civilian property, in violation of Israel's obligation to facilitate the effective delivery of aid," the groups, which included Oxfam and Christian Aid, said in a statement.
Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 war. Israel quit Gaza in 2005. The enclave is now governed by Hamas Islamists opposed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's peace-making strategy.
Palestinians say they want over half a million Jewish settlers there, along with Israeli soldiers, to leave the occupied territories. Israel, citing historical claims on the biblical lands, bluntly refuses.
The proposed eastern border of a future independent Palestinian state, the Jordan Valley has been especially contentious as Israel insists on keeping an army presence there after any peace accord. Palestinians maintain that a temporary international force should do the job, with Israel observing.
The Palestinian population in the region has declined over the past several decades as the water supply from the River Jordan has been diverted and Israel set up military zones and settlements.
"They came in large numbers with their armored vehicles but that will not break our will, the popular resistance will continue and will be victorious and we will return," lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the sit-in, said.
The Israeli military has denounced the protesters as "provocateurs" and said their evacuation was prompted by stone-throwing attacks on a nearby highway "and other legal considerations."
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