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The United Nations has raised concerns over a newly announced demolition plan in a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank that threatens dozens of buildings including a primary school.
“This is unacceptable and it must stop,” Robert Piper, UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said on Wednesday.
Piper visited the village where the primary school is among 140 structures at risk of demolition.
“Khan al-Ahmar is one of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank struggling to maintain a minimum standard of living in the face of intense pressure from the Israeli authorities to move,” he said in a statement.
Israeli officials have over the past week issued dozens of demolition orders threatening “nearly every structure” in a part of the village of Khan al-Ahmar, the UN said.
Israel said the buildings were built without permits.
The UN said such permits are all but impossible to obtain for Palestinians.
“In the past days construction termination warrants were served to illegal buildings in Khan al-Ahmar,” Israel’s defence ministry body responsible for the Palestinian territories said.
“The enforcement will take place in coordination with state directives and required legal certifications.”
Israel has occupied the West Bank for 50 years in violation of international law.
A number of traditionally nomadic Bedouin communities are based east of Jerusalem, where rights groups fear demolitions could eventually clear the way for more construction of illegal Israeli settlements.
This could partly divide the West Bank between north and south while further isolating the territory from Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as their future capital.
The UN said there are 46 communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer, ousting approximately 7,000 residents.
Israel frequently uses home demolitions to control and punish Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Since 1967, when Israel occupied the Palestinian territories, at least 48,000 Palestinian homes and housing structures have been demolished.