Record number of children displaced by West Bank demolitions

09 June 2011
  • UNRWA announces record high figures relating to West Bank demolitions
  • Launches new web initiative to document demolitions

9 June 2011

Family on grounds of their demolished homeThe United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, has released its latest monthly figures relating to the Israeli practice of demolitions and forced evictions in the West Bank, which show a record number of children displaced. “Demolitions saw 67 children displaced in May, the highest monthly figure so far this year,” said UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness, “64 in Area C and 3 in East Jerusalem.”

Under the Israeli zoning policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, Palestinians are allowed to build in just 13 per cent of occupied East Jerusalem and 1 per cent of Area C in the West Bank, which are already heavily built up. “Palestinians are refused permits and are forced to build illegally. They then suffer the humiliation either of having the Israeli authorities destroy their homes, or are forced to destroy their homes themselves and foot the bill,” said Gunness. “Children often watch with their parents as their homes are demolished. A house is a place of safety and comfort for most children around the world. A home demolished is a future destroyed.”

UNRWA figures show that 304 adults and children were displaced or affected by demolitions in the West Bank. “The figure for displaced and affected includes people who were not necessarily displaced by demolitions, but who were affected because some vital facility, like a water system, was destroyed,” explained Gunness. “Under international law, Israel must ensure that persons under its jurisdiction enjoy the fulfilment of their human rights, including the right to housing, health, education, and water. UNRWA calls on Israel to respect its legal obligations.”

At the same time, UNRWA has announced a new web initiative to monitor demolitions. Read full details of demolitions with all the latest figures.

- ENDS -

For more information please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
[email protected]

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
[email protected]


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.

For more information, please contact: