Israeli forces have demolished dozens of structures, including a school, in the northern West Bank this week, leaving 10 families homeless, according to a new United Nations report. In as statement issued on Friday, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance and Development Aid said the demolitions took place on Wednesday in the village of Khirbet Tana, south of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
In total, 41 buildings were destroyed, displacing 36 Palestinians, including 11 children, the UN said. “These are some of the highest levels of demolition and displacement recorded in a similar timeframe since 2009,” the statement said. Khirbet Tana is home to approximately 250 people who rely on herding and agriculture for their livelihood, according to the report.
Because the residents need grazing land for their livestock, most have “little choice” but to stay in the area. “Due to the community’s location within an area declared as a ‘firing zone’ for training purposes, residents are denied building permits and have experienced repeated waves of demolitions, the last one taking place on February 9,” the report said.
Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said that last month the number of such demolitions had tripled on average since the start of the year. “Since the beginning of 2016, Israel has demolished, on average, 29 Palestinian-owned structures per week, three times the weekly average for 2015,” he said.