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UN: Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes hit record high

Ma'an news

4dem-669_345x230.jpg

April 4, 2011

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes and buildings reached a record high in March for the third consecutive month, according to figures from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The UN Relief and Works Agency recorded 76 demolitions of Palestinian buildings in March, forcibly displacing 158 Palestinians including 64 children.

So far this year, Israel has demolished the homes of 333 Palestinians, including 175 children, UNRWA reported.

Meanwhile, Israel has built a record number of Jewish-only homes on occupied Palestinian land, in contravention of international law.

Commenting on the unprecedented figures, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Ma'an that they revealed ethnic discrimination.

"I am not saying this is classic ethnic cleansing, but the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned this discrimination and make no mistake, it is discrimination against one ethnic group."

Demolition of the peace process

The last round of talks collapsed over Israel's refusal to extend a partial freeze on illegal settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

Palestinian negotiators refused to engage in talks while Israel built on land which would be a Palestinian state if a peace agreement was reached.

Gunness noted that by demolishing Palestinian homes, Israel was diminishing the possibility of a two-state solution.

"The West Bank is where the future Palestinian state is meant to be situated. Its viability is being reduced with each demolition."

The UN agency urged peace makers to pressure Israel to end its discriminatory practices, noting that the culture of impunity led to more abuses, stimulated anger and resentment on both sides and impeded the peace process.

"Homes, families, lives and the peace process are being demolished," Gunness said.





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