Thursday, May 2, 2019

Demolishing the West Bank - An Israeli Pastime

In late December, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released its annual report regarding the "on-the-ground reality" in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  In this posting, I will examine the OCHA's data on demolitions that Israel has undertaken in the West Bank, noting that demolitions include the acts of dismantlement, confiscation and/or sealing off.

Let's start by looking at Israel's ongoing program of demolishing Palestinian structures across the West Bank.  The United Nations classifies structures as follows:

1.) Residential structures include homes, parts of single family dwellings and apartment buildings which may be inhabited (resulting in displacement of the residents) or uninhabited (under construction). 

2.) Livelihood structures include shops, animal shelters, walls and warehouses.  

3.) Infrastructure structures included roads, network facilities and water pipes among others.

Here is a summary graphic showing the displacement and demolition that has been undertaken by the Israelis across the West Bank since 2009:

In total, since 2009, 5,776 structures (999 of which were donor-funded) were demolished which resulted in the displacement of 9,035 people and impacted 51,561 people.  

Here is a detailed map showing the locations of the demolished West Bank structures:

Here is a bar graph showing the West Bank communities that have suffered the most demolitions:

Here is a graphic showing the types of structures that have been demolished and their purpose:

Here is a pie chart showing the gender and age of the displaced Palestinians:

Here is a key quote from the OCHA report:

"Together with other policies and practices, the threat of destruction of homes and sources of livelihood contributes to the generation of a coercive environment pressuring people to leave their areas of residence."
Let's close with this map from the Americans for Peace Now shows how the Israeli government's program of settling Jewish residents in the West Bank has successfully cut off Palestinian settlements from each other:

Do the words "ethnic cleansing" come to mind?

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