Jerusalem: Israel has stepped up its
demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank in recent
months, a UN official said on Sunday, warning it hampered efforts
to establish a Palestinian state.
"The number of Palestinian buildings in the West Bank
demolished by the Israeli authorities has hit a record high
for the third consecutive month," UNRWA (United Nations Relief
and Works Agency for Palestine refugees) spokesman Chris
Gunness said in comments e-mailed to reporters.
Gunness said that according to figures from UNRWA in
March, 76 homes or structures were demolished compared with 29
in January and 70 in February.
"The number of people forcibly displaced by these
demolitions has also hit a record monthly high with 158 people
forcibly displaced in March by demolitions, including 64
children," he said.
Gunness said the policy was clearly one of
"discrimination against one ethnic group" and together with
Israel`s continued construction of Jewish settlements hampered
the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state in the
"The West Bank is where the future Palestinian state
is meant to be situated. Its viability is being further eroded
with each demolition," he said.
Israeli military officials behind the demolitions
could not immediately be reached for comment, but Israel says
it demolishes only homes that have been built without permits.