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UN urges Israel to halt demolitions in East Jerusalem

Israel has destroyed more than 100 Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem so far in 2019
OCHA added that more Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have been displaced in first months of 2019 than all of last year (AFP)

All demolitions in East Jerusalem must halt, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the Occupied Palestinian Territories said on Friday.

"Demolitions in East Jerusalem have increased at a staggering pace over the last month, leaving tens of Palestinians displaced and others who have lost their livelihoods overnight," said OCHA’s Jamie McGoldrick.

"This must stop," McGoldrick added.

According to WAFA news agency, Israel has destroyed more than 100 Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem so far in 2019, with 63 demolished in April alone.

On 29 April, Israel demolished 31 buildings; the most in one day since OCHA began monitoring forced demolitions in 2009.

"As the occupying power of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel is obligated to ensure the welfare and well-being of the local Palestinian population," OCHA's James Heenan said.

"The implementation of the discriminatory Israeli zoning and planning regime cannot be invoked by Israel to justify any violation of international law," he added.

In a news release on Friday, OCHA mentioned a situation on 30 April where Israel bulldozed four buildings, "forcibly evicting" 11 Palestinian refugees, seven of whom are children.

OCHA added that more Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have been displaced the first months of 2019 than all of last year, 193 compared with 176.