UNRWA condemns latest Israeli demolitions in the West Bank, urges respect for international law

14 July 2016

On the record quote from UNRWA Spokesperson Sami Mshasha

"The Israeli authorities have carried out a large-scale demolition in the Bedouin refugee community in Anata in the occupied West Bank. Seven residential structures, four animal shelters and four toilet units were destroyed, of which three were funded by an international NGO. As a result, seven UNRWA registered refugee families with a total 43 individuals, including 25 children, were displaced. Among them were a 48-year-old male head of household suffering from Parkinson’s disease and a 48-year-old male head of household with a physical disability rendering him unable to walk. Also among the displaced was an 85-year-old woman, as well as a woman seven months into her pregnancy.

"It is heartbreaking to see such shocking disregard for international law and the impact it is having on an entire UN-protected community. While condemning this disregard for international law, we would respectfully remind Israel, the occupying power, that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it has an obligation to respect family rights, including the dwellings of the protected population – not destroy them."

UNRWA teams have visited the families and documented the cases and is providing assistance to the impacted refugee families to rebuild their lives.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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