UN: In February, Israel attacks 77 humanitarian aid programs, including 47 EU-funded
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory announced that Israeli targeting of EU-funded aid structures to Palestinians has tripled so far in 2021 compared to the monthly average in 2020, and Israeli settlers have destroyed and stolen donor-funded aid (oPt).
According to the study titled West Bank demolitions and displacement | February 2021, Israeli authorities destroyed, forced people to demolish, or confiscated 153 Palestinian-owned buildings throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in February.
Since OCHA began systematically recording this activity in 2009, this is the fourth highest monthly number, trailing only November 2020 (178), February (237), and March 2016. (179).
305 people were displaced as a result of the incidents this month, including 172 children, and 435 others' livelihoods or access to services were impacted. Many of the structures attacked were in Area C of the occupied West Bank or in occupied East Jerusalem, with the exception of two structures in Tura al Gharbiya in the Jenin district, which were demolished or destroyed on punitive grounds.
The monthly average of structures targeted (117) so far in 2021 reflects a 65 percent improvement over the monthly average in 2020. (71).
On five separate occasions in February, the herding community of Humsa – Al Bqai’a in the northern Jordan Valley witnessed the confiscation and demolition of 82 structures by the Israeli authorities. Nearly 80 percent of the targeted structures (65) were provided as humanitarian aid and included homes, WASH and livelihood structures, at a value of at least 43,000 euros. As a result of these five incidents, some 60 people, including 35 children were displaced.
In a statement issued on 24 February following a visit to Humsa – Al Bqai’a, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Lynn Hastings, called on the Israeli authorities to "immediately halt all further demolitions of Palestinian homes and possessions, allow the humanitarian community to provide shelter, food and water to this most vulnerable group and these people to remain in their homes." So far in 2021, over 50 percent of all targeted structures have been located in Bedouin and herding communities in Area C, up from 31 percent in 2020. These communities are some of the most vulnerable in the West Bank, with limited access to education and health services, and to water, sanitation, and electricity infrastructure.
Nearly 90 percent of all structures targeted (demolished or seized) in February were seized without prior warning in Area C. This is a significant increase compared with 30 percent in 2020, 11 percent in 2017 and eight percent in 2016. Seizure procedures do not oblige the authorities to provide prior notice, thus preventing affected people from objecting in advance and have been characterized by the Head of the Supervision Unit within the ICA as "a strategic tool".
So far in 2021, a total of 93 structures provided as humanitarian aid have been demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, compared with 157 structures in all of 2020.
Additionally, in Bruqin in the Salfit district, Israeli settlers destroyed, uprooted, or stole donor-funded saplings and infrastructure materials for a value of 2,300 euros. A family of seven was affected by the incident.
Fifteen structures were demolished in East Jerusalem: seven were demolished by the West Jerusalem Israeli municipality and seven by the owners themselves, following the issuance of a demolition order.
The largest incident took place in al-Isawiyya on 22 February, where the Jerusalem Municipality accompanied by Israeli forces demolished a residential building comprising four apartments, displacing 19 people, including 10 children.
The affected families had been paying fines since 2017 for building without a permit and received a final demolition order in July 2020 and a verbal warning the day before the demolition. Clashes erupted during the demolition incident, during which a Palestinian man was injured with a rubber bullet.
On 10 February, the Israeli authorities punitively demolished a home in the village of Tura al Gharbiya in Jenin, in Area B, belonging to a Palestinian man indicted for killing an Israeli settler on 20 December 2020. A family of seven, including four children, was displaced, in addition to a family of four displaced due to collateral damage caused by the demolition.
According to the United Nations.