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Israeli Demolitions Resume In West Bank

UN Envoy Speaks Out Against Resumed Israeli Demolitions In West Bank

New York, Nov 3 2008 2:10PM

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) has voiced alarm at Israel’s recent resumption of house demolitions – after a freeze which began this April – in the West Bank.

Robert Serry said in a statement issued over the weekend in Jerusalem that the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are discussing the world body’s concerns – given the impact of the demolitions on the area’s most vulnerable, with many poor families left destitute – with Israeli authorities.

“The actions are also a political step back from the commitments Israel has made and send a discouraging signal regarding its support for the strenuous and concerted efforts underway to improve the conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory and build greater trust and confidence in support of the peace process,” he said.

Mr. Serry said that he calls on Israel to follow its commitments by calling a halt to demolitions, thereby preventing civilians from losing their homes and livelihoods.

Last week, the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that conditions have not improved in the West Bank, with the number of checkpoints topping 600, making it extremely difficult for people, including UN staff that live in the West Bank and work in Jerusalem, to move around.

“The whole situation makes it very difficult… developing the economy there, and also makes us very worried about how viable a Palestinian state can be created in a territory that is so completely fragmented as this one is,” Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, told reporters in New York.

ENDS

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