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Forced Displacement

Overview
Thousands of Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) have been forcibly displaced or are at acute risk of forced displacement as a result of multiple factors, including policies and practices related to the ongoing military occupation and recurrent hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups. Many Palestinians have suffered multiple displacements, having lost their homes and livelihoods more than once. Forced displacement has a series of immediate and longer-term physical, socio-economic and psycho-social impacts on Palestinian families. It deprives them of their home and land – often their main asset – and frequently results in disruption to livelihoods, a reduced standard of living and limited access to basic services. The impact on children can be particularly devastating.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacement is primarily driven by a number of occupation-related policies, including those linked to settlement activity. In Area C and East Jerusalem, each year hundreds of Palestinian homes and other structures are demolished due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. The restrictive planning system makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits, while providing preferential treatment for Israeli settlements.


 
Bir Nibala/Tel Adassa demolition. Credit:OCHA, September 2013

Most Palestinians are forced to build without a permit to meet their needs. In many cases, displacement is due to cumulative pressure created by a combination of factors, including settler violence, movement restrictions (including the Barrier) and restricted access to services and resources. East Jerusalemites are also at risk of displacement due to forced evictions, takeover of their property by settler organizations, and the lack of secure residency status. Numerous communities have been temporarily displaced in recent years due to Israeli military training as well.
In the Gaza Strip, displacement has primarily resulted from damage or destruction to homes during hostilities or Israeli military operations. Many people affected during such violence often remain displaced, unable to rebuild or repair their homes due to the long-standing restrictions on import of construction materials and the dire economic situation. In recent years, there has also been some displacement as a result of the Gaza authorities eviction of Palestinian families who were living on "state land".

Key Trends in 2014

• Despite a decline in the number of structures demolished in 2014 compared to 2013 (601 vs. 663), the number of people displaced increased by almost 10 per cent.

• Area C recorded a lower number of demolished structures in 2014 compared to 2013, with over half the demolitions were in the Jordan Valley. There was no change on the number of structures demolished in East Jerusalem as compared to 2013.

• Four houses were demolished on punitive grounds in 2014 for the first time since 2005.

• On average 64 structures were demolished in 2015 on a monthly basis in the first three months of 2015, which is higher than its equivalent figures in 2014 and 2013 (51 and 53, respectively.

 

Structures demolished

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total Total Total Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Jan Feb Mar
Area C 571 540 565 101 22 5 88 70 30 6 25 58 27 37 24 493 81 15 77
East Jerusalem 42 64 98 7 9 9 4 5 6 2 5 3 23 11 14 98 5 2 18
Area A NA NA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
Area B NA NA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
Total 613 604 663 108 31 14 92 75 36 10 37 62 50 48 38 601 86 17 92

People displaced due to demolitions or evictions

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total Total Total Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total Jan Feb Mar
Area C 1006 815 805 160 24 17 171 156 42 0 98 122 67 102 10 969 117 0 110
East Jerusalem 88 71 298 23 34 28 8 8 0 0 20 15 30 34 8 208 0 0 0
Area A NA NA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 16 5 0 0 0 32 0 0 0
Area B NA NA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0
Total 1094 886 1103 183 58 45 179 164 42 11 140 142 97 136 18 1215 117 0 110

Monthly figures: People displaced due to demolitions or evictions

OCHA oPt Resources

Fact Sheet: Communities in the Jerusalem periphery at risk of forced displacement | June 2013
Fact Sheet: The Humanitarian Impact of Israeli-declared "Firing Zones" in the West Bank | August 2012
Fact Sheet: Demolitions and forced displacement in the occupied West Bank | January 2012
Special Focus: Displacement and Insecurity in Area C of the West Bank | August 2011
Special Focus: East Jerusalem -- Key Humanitarian Concerns I March 2011
Fact Sheet: East Jerusalem - Key Humanitarian Concerns | December 2011
Case Study: Dislocated Communities: The Case of Khirbet Khamis | November 2013
Case Study: Dislocated Communities: The Bir Nabala / Tel alAdassa Case Study | September 2013
Case Study: Life in a "Firing Zone": The Massafer Yatta Case Study | May 2013
Annual Review: Fragmented Lives - Humanitarian Overview 2012
Annual Review: Fragmented Lives - Humanitarian Overview 2011

Useful Links

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Thematic Page on Displacement
Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
International Displacement Monitoring Centre

UN OCHA CAP CERF HDX RELIEFWEB IRIN Humanitarian Response
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