Human rights watch calls on Israel to stop razing Palestinian homes

[ 10/03/2011 – 11:35 AM ]

 

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Human rights watch demanded Israel on Tuesday to cease the discriminatory demolition of Palestinian homes in the 1948 occupied territories.

“Israel should ensure equal treatment in planning and zoning procedures for its non-Jewish citizens, and carry out demolitions only as a last resort along with compensation or alternative housing arrangements,” HRW stated.

“Israeli authorities allow buildings that will benefit Jewish citizens while demolishing Arab houses next door,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, middle east director at human rights watch. “That obviously discriminates against non-Jewish Israelis, but officials haven’t given any justification for this clear difference in treatment between citizens.”

According to the organization, on December 13, 2010, Israeli land administration civil servants and policemen demolished six homes belonging to Palestinian citizens in the Abu Tuk neighborhood of Lod, a city near Tel Aviv, displacing 67 members of the extended Abu Eid family, 27 of them children.

On March 2, 2011, Israeli police entered the same neighborhood and destroyed the bases for two prefabricated homes the family had planned to erect there.

“The displaced family members are currently staying with neighbors or living in tents. Israeli authorities say the homes lack building permits, but repeatedly refused to grant such permits; they argue that the land is zoned as agricultural rather than residential but have refused to re-classify the land as residential,” human rights watch affirmed.

“However, Israeli authorities recently rezoned land adjacent to the demolished site from agricultural to residential land, and are planning a housing development there for Israeli security service personnel. Plans for a Jewish religious college have been approved on another nearby site,” it added

Hundreds of homes in Lod are under immediate demolition orders, virtually all of them in Palestinian Arab neighborhoods. About 1,600 housing units in Lod are currently designated as illegal, and thus subject to demolition orders, because they lack building permits, the rights group said.

Human rights watch calls on Israel to stop razing Palestinian homes.

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