Israel to resume ‘full-scale demolition’ of Palestinian homes and buildings in West Bank
Israeli officials said on Thursday they are expected to resume demolition operations in the West Bank after a four-year moratorium on demolitions.
“We are expected at some point to start full-scale demolitions,” Israel’s housing minister, Eli Yishai, told a press conference.
“The goal is to get rid of all the houses and buildings, all the structures that are illegal under international law, that we have not built, and those that we cannot demolish,” Yishi said.
The demolition moratorium, imposed by the United Nations Security Council in 2013, was the first such restriction in more than a decade.
Israel has also said it would continue to demolish Palestinian homes, but it has stopped doing so in the occupied territories in recent months.
“It’s been difficult because we’re not doing it,” Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a member of the Israel’s Knesset, told Israel Radio on Thursday.
“But the end is approaching,” he added, referring to the end of the prohibition.
“I think the end will come in a few months, I believe,” he said.
On Monday, the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Wall, announced it would begin construction of homes in several West Bank towns, a move that would see the construction of a new settlement built on top of an existing one.
Israel’s settlement construction has risen sharply in recent years, with more than half of Israel’s population now living in settlements.
More:The Israeli military says the number of settler units is on the rise in the territories.
In January, Israel announced it was moving up the number, saying it would increase the number from 300,000 in 2018 to 500,000 by 2023.