The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday castigated Israel for “mass demolitions” that the government has carried out in Arab areas in recent months, and said the actions violate international law.
“These mass demolitions raise serious concerns about the prohibition on forced evictions under international human rights law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who urged Israel to cease the practice.
The demolitions, he added, raised questions about “Israel’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of Palestinians to adequate housing and freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family and home.”
A number of high-profile land-use issues this year have been condemned by the UN, including an ongoing effort by the IDF to displace from an area near a West Bank firing zone up to 1,000 Palestinians living in long-term, unrecognized villages, and a resettlement plan in southern Israel that could displace dozens of unrecognized Bedouin villages.
On Friday, a West Bank altercation made headlines after the IDF used crowd control methods to foil an attempt by dozens of Palestinians and EU diplomats to rebuild West Bank homes that were demolished earlier in the week, in accordance with a High Court of Justice ruling. During the altercation, French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing said she was thrown to the ground by soldiers.
Israel later accused the diplomats of “unnecessary provocation under the alleged pretext of humanitarian aid” and of violating “diplomatic codes of conduct.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesman was not available to comment on the Tuesday UN declaration.