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UN report: West Bank house demolitions up 25%

The number of Palestinian homes demolished by Israel has sharply increased this year, leading experts to question Israel's agenda.
An Israeli border policeman stands guard during the demolition of a Palestinian house under the order of the Israeli army, in the West Bank town of Dura, south of Hebron January 20, 2016. The owners of the house said they were informed by the Israeli army that the demolition was carried out because they did not have an Israeli-issued construction permit. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma  - RTX236ZL

A recent report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was jarring. In addition to the usual listing of casualties and injuries among Palestinians, it reported a huge spike this year in the demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures by Israel.

In the Aug. 4 report, OCHA cited 684 buildings as having been demolished so far this year in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, compared to 531 for all of 2015. This 25% increase in demolitions has largely affected East Jerusalem and locations designated as part of Area C under the Oslo Accord. Area C constitutes more than 60% of the West Bank and is under Israeli administrative and security control. To date this year, 574 Palestinian structures have been destroyed in Area C, compared to 453 in 2015. In East Jerusalem, the number of buildings destroyed up until Aug. 4 stands at 110, compared to 78 in 2015.

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