The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its biweekly Protection of Civilians Report that the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 39 structures in the West Bank in the past two weeks, displacing 63 Palestinians, and otherwise affecting 380 others.
OCHA said the largest incident occurred near Za’tara village, near Bethlehem, in an area designated as a firing zone for military training, where the occupation authorities demolished 13 structures, including homes, animal shelters, water tanks and solar panels.
The remaining other structures demolished were in East Jerusalem. On 23 November, Israeli forces confiscated the equipment and tiles used for renovating a road and side walk to connect Jabal al Baba community with nearby Al ‘Eizariya town (Jerusalem). The infrastructure had been demolished by Israeli forces on 18 November, while the confiscation is the second of its kind since the construction of the road in August 2019.
“So far this year, nearly 800 Palestinians have been displaced in the West Bank as a result of demolitions, almost double the figure during the equivalent period in 2018,” the report said.
During the same period, the report added, Israeli settlers carried out 12 attacks that resulted in the injury of 30 Palestinians and damage to at least 100 olive trees and 48 vehicles. Two of these attacks, as well as additional incidents of intimidation and confrontations, took place on November 22-23 in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), where thousands of settlers and other Israeli visitors attended a religious celebration.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights raised concern that in many cases, Israeli forces present in the area “appeared to not take action to prevent the attacks or to protect the population”. Since the end of the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron in January 2019, the frequency and intensity of settler attacks in the H2 area of Hebron has significantly increased.
In another eight incidents across the West Bank, Israeli settlers stormed Urif, Majdal Bani Fadil, Qabalan and Beit Dajan villages (Nablus district), Sarta and Kafr ad-Dik (Salfit) villages and vandalized a total of 48 Palestinian-owned vehicles and wrote slogans on the walls of five houses and one school. In a separate incident, in lands near the settlement of Itamar (Nablus), Palestinians from Awarta village reported that settlers stole the crop of 100 olive trees, in an area that requires prior coordination with the Israeli authorities to access.
Also during the same period, Israeli forces carried out a total of 135 search and arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested 157 Palestinians, including 18 children. The majority of the operations were in the Hebron governorate (46), followed by Jerusalem (25) and Ramallah (22) governorates.