The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says Israeli authorities demolished six European Union-funded buildings in the occupied West Bank in January alone under the pretext of lack of building permit.
The UN body further said in its Friday report that all the six structures had been built in the so-called Area C, which constitutes about 61 percent of the entire West Bank and it is directly controlled by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
The so-called COGAT is a unit in the Israeli military that engages in coordinating civilian issues between the Israeli regime, the Israeli military, international organizations, diplomats and the Palestinian Authority. The report also said that at least 44 schools have pending demolition orders in the area.
The COGAT demands permits for new building projects, however, according to the NRC, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an international organization that promotes and protects the rights of people affected by displacement, the majority of planning requests are firmly rejected, leaving international donors and Palestinians alike with no choice but to construct new buildings anyway.
In a separate report on Friday, the OCHA said that the Israeli authorities had razed or seized 25 structures in Area C and occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds on the grounds of lack of building permits, including a donor-funded school.
The UN body added that at least 33 Palestinians, including 18 children, had been displaced and another 135 had been otherwise affected as a result of the latest Israeli measures.
According to the OCHA, of the six demolished EU-funded structures, two were residential and four animal shelters, which had been constructed in the Palestinian Bedouin community of al Jiftlik Abu al Ajaj, in the central Jordan Valley. Another eight EU-funded structures received stop-work orders and faced imminent demolition on the ground they were being built without permit, it added.
In August last year, Israeli authorities destroyed or inflicted heavy damage on at least three educational facilities for Palestinian children in the Area C in the course of two weeks.
Children living in the area often must walk or travel long distances to reach their schools and are exposed to settler harassment or searches at checkpoints. These constraints negatively affect the quality of education in the area and increase the chances of early dropout.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.
In recent months, Tel Aviv has stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands in a blatant violation of international law and in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.
European nations and the United Nations, among others, maintain their strong opposition to settlement building in the Palestinian territories.