Members of the Security Council,
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I will devote this briefing to the presentation of his 21st report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), covering the period from 10 December to 18 March.
Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) calls on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” and to “fully respect all its legal obligations in this regard”. No such action has been taken.
On January 5, the Israeli authorities published tenders for some 300 housing units in settlements in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiyot.
On January 10 and 24, the Jerusalem District Planning Committee advanced plans to build some 800 and 400 housing units respectively in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo.
On January 17, the same Committee put forward a plan for some 1,200 housing units near Ramat Rachel in southern Jerusalem, with a significant number to be built in East Jerusalem.
On February 1, following an official cadastre, Israel’s Attorney General issued a legal notice authorizing authorities to declare the lands of the Evyatar outpost as “state lands” and authorizing expedited planning procedures for establishing a colony there.
On February 28, the Jerusalem District Planning Committee proposed a plan for some 700 housing units in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem.
Demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures continued throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Citing the lack of building permits issued by Israel, which are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, 216 structures were demolished or seized by Israeli authorities or demolished by their owners to avoid costly Israeli demolition fees. These actions displaced 299 people, including 138 children and 76 women. A total of 37 demolished or seized structures were funded by donors.
In order to reduce tensions, the Israeli authorities have reportedly decided to freeze most demolitions in East Jerusalem before and during the month of Ramadan.
Tensions were high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem ahead of January 19, when Israeli forces evicted a Palestinian family and demolished their home. Twelve Palestinians were displaced, including two children and three women, and several arrests were reported. Israeli authorities said the demolition was undertaken to build a special school for Palestinian children.
Tensions increased further in February over the possible deportation by the Israeli authorities of a Palestinian family scheduled for March. After weeks of numerous violent altercations, protests and property damage in the neighborhood, the atmosphere calmed somewhat after an Israeli trial court’s February 22 decision to suspend the eviction, in the awaiting consideration of an appeal filed by the family. In developments that further reduced tensions, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on March 1 that four other families in the neighborhood would not be evicted and would be recognized as “protected tenants”, paying nominal rent, until that a decision be made on their property claims. . On March 3, the families held a press conference highlighting the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision and pledging to continue to assert their rights to own their homes.
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