Amid West Bank demolitions, hundreds of displaced Palestinian children
Amid increased West Bank demolitions, the number of displaced Palestinian children hits four-year high
Demolitions by Israeli forces increased in 2020, displacing at least 500 children.
More than 500 Palestinian children were displaced from their homes in the occupied West Bank last year, Save the Children said on Wednesday, amid a rising number of demolitions by Israeli forces.
Demolitions have impacted at least 2,600 children, the NGO said, noting that at least 218 children and their families had been displaced.
Home demolitions are routine in Area C of the West Bank, where Israel holds near full control and it is near impossible for Palestinians to obtain construction permits.
Last year was the worst for displaced Palestinian children since 2016, Save the Children said.
More than 5,000 children are also at risk of their schools being demolished, the NGO added.
Some 53 schools are currently at risk of demolition in the West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem.
"Children are paying the highest price. Tearing down a house, a school or other vital infrastructure, especially during a pandemic, destroys their right to an education, to have a home. It targets their future, their health, their safety and well-being," said Jason Lee, the organisation's country director for Palestine.
"As an occupying power, Israel has the duty to protect the rights of children. We urge the Government of Israel to tear up all existing demolition orders for schools, homes and vital infrastructure, in line with its international obligations. Failing to do so will leave more children without a home or an education, adding to the impact the pandemic is already having on their lives," Lee said in a statement on Wednesday.
The United Nations reprimanded Israel last year for continuing to demolish Palestinian homes and infrastructure amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Demolitions were ongoing at the highest rate in four years between March and August 2020, the UN said in September.
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