In a bi-weekly report released today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has documented a series of distressing events in the occupied Palestinian territory, shedding light on the continuous challenges faced by Palestinian communities. The report, covering the period between 8 and 21 August, reveals a concerning pattern of demolitions, displacements, and injuries, while underscoring the worsening humanitarian crisis in the region.
The Israeli occupation authorities have been accused of demolishing a donor-funded school in the Ramallah governorate during this two-week timeframe, along with 33 other Palestinian structures across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. This news has sparked outrage and condemnation from international humanitarian organizations.
The demolished school, situated near Ramallah, had been serving 17 children between the ages of six and 12 from the displaced herding community of Ein Samiya. The school’s closure has disrupted the education of these young students, adding to the already challenging circumstances they face due to the ongoing conflict.
The Israeli occupation defended the demolitions by citing the lack of building permits. However, the report highlights that obtaining these permits is nearly impossible for Palestinians. As a result, not only have homes and structures been destroyed, but the livelihoods of many individuals have been gravely affected, leading to further instability in the region.
The report also brings attention to the alarming increase in punitive demolitions, where homes are destroyed as a form of collective punishment. Such actions have been deemed illegal under international law. Israeli occupation forces demolished the home of a family member accused of killing two Israeli settlers earlier this year, displacing a female-headed household and injuring numerous Palestinians in the process.
Tragically, the conflict has claimed more lives, as a 17-year-old Palestinian child was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces during a search-and-arrest operation in al Zababida town. The escalating Israeli violence has led to the deaths of at least 200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel so far in 2023, surpassing the total number of fatalities in the entirety of 2022. The dire situation has prompted concerns from global observers about the escalating cycle of violence and its devastating impact on Palestinian civilians.
Furthermore, the report highlights the significant rise in injuries sustained by Palestinians due to Israeli occupation forces. The punitive demolition of a refugee camp resulted in the injury of 559 Palestinians, including 148 children. Such acts have generated widespread condemnation for their disproportionate use of force against civilians.
The report concludes by emphasizing the broader consequences of the ongoing conflict, as movement restrictions imposed by Israeli occupation forces continue to hamper Palestinians’ access to essential services and livelihoods. The situation paints a bleak picture of the current conditions in the Palestinian territories, warranting urgent international attention and efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.