Concluding a ten day visit to the region yesterday (Monday, February 20th), United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Prof. Richard Falk stated that “the information I received paints a picture of increasing efforts by Israel to deny Palestinians their right of self-determination. Ever-increasing and expanding Israeli settlements; ever-increasing confiscation of Palestinian land; ever-increasing settler violence; and ever-increasing demolition of Palestinian homes and other measures to displace Palestinians, have the manifest effect of making self-determination a decreasingly realizable prospect for Palestinians.”
The Special Rapporteur met during his visit ICAHD staff members Jeff Halper, Salim Shawamreh and Itay Epshtain. In a briefing held in Amman Jordan, Halper and Epshtain highlighted to the recent trends of demolition and displacement in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, as well as the political program of Judaization of those areas, forestalling a just solution to the conflict (ICAHD’s analysis of last year’s displacement trends can be found here…). ICAHD Field-Coordinator Shawamreh informed Prof. Falk of recent occurrences in Anata, bringing about the demolition of his home “Beit Arabiya”, and the homes of others ICAHD has supported throughout the years.
Following the briefing the UN Special Rapporteur told press that “with 80 Palestinian structures already demolished in 2012, Israel is on pace to exceed even the sharp increase of demolitions it perpetrated in 2011. It is deeply disturbing that 30 per cent of such incidents involve the demolition of family homes. And these demolitions result in the further displacement of more Palestinians – many of whom were already refugees.”
Following the consideration of information provided by ICAHD and partner human rights organizations, Prof. Falk was quoted saying that “the information inevitably leads to the conclusion that Israel is implementing a deliberate policy of forcing Palestinians out of their homes and off their land, in order to establish more illegal settlements and to proceed with the de facto annexation of the West Bank, if not altogether, at least in relation to its substantial part, a process aggravated by a disproportional allocation of water to the settlers. In this regard, the situations in certain parts of East Jerusalem, and throughout the Jordan Valley merit sustained and timely international attention and advocacy.”