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UN slams Israel demolition of West Bank properties

12 December, 2013

JERUSALEM: The United Nations Wednesday slammed Israelīs demolition of 30 Palestinian properties in the West Bank, saying it displaced some families for the second time in less than two weeks.

"I am concerned about the destruction of Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley yesterday (Tuesday)," UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley said in a statement.

"The demolitions resulted in the displacement of 41 people, including 24 children, and affected another 20.

Both refugee and non-refugee families were affected." the statement said."Some of the families were displaced for the second time this month and a number of donor-funded structures were among those demolished.

"Israelīs civilian administration of the West Bank had no immediate comment on the demolitions.

A group of 36 NGOs last week urged Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes, hours ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at revitalising Middle East peace talks.

"Demolitions often occur to facilitate the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, with 60 percent of demolitions occurring in Palestinian communities close to settlement zones," rights groups and charities including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement.

"Since the resumption of the peace process in July, Israel has destroyed 207 Palestinian homes and property in the occupied West Bank, displacing 311 Palestinians, over half of whom are children," they said.

Israeli settlement building threatens to derail the fragile peace talks, with the Jewish state announcing thousands of new homes in the West Bank on territory the Palestinians want for a future state.

This year, more than 630 Palestinian structures have been demolished in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, according to the UN.

Some 1,035 Palestinians have been displaced by the demolitions, the world body said, adding that more than 80 percent of the displacement occurred in the Jordan Valley.

End.

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