Palestinian activists say Israel tore down at least 69 Palestinian homes in the flashpoint Silwan neighborhood of East al-Quds and issued orders for demolition of another 172 buildings during 2021.
Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Defense of Silwan Land Committee, said on Thursday that the demolition campaign by Israeli forces displaced 342 Palestinians, including a large number of children and women.
The implementation of the eviction orders could render 10,000 Palestinians homeless in the coming weeks or months. Diab said the massive displacement of Palestinians amounts to "ethnic cleansing."
Forced displacement, or the unlawful transfer of civilians in the occupied territories, violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Israel also filed indictments against 90 owners of homes and fined them 4,370,000 shekels under the pretext of the so-called illegal construction, he added.
The United Nations has reported a 21 percent increase in the number of Palestinian structures that were confiscated or destroyed this year.
Israel regularly flattens Palestinian homes and structures in al-Quds on the pretext that they lack building permits, expropriating more Palestinian lands to expand its illegal settlements.
The international community considers Israeli settlement construction illegal under international law.
Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned Tel Aviv’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.
Diab also said Israel had seized hundreds of donums of lands for the construction of new illegal settlements.
The theft of land across the occupied territories has pushed residents into a crowded enclave surrounded by walls, settlements, and military installations.
In May, Israel's land grab in the occupied West Bank sparked a war between the military and Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip that lasted 11 days. During the war, Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza killed over 250 Palestinians, including 66 children.
In addition to expanding its illegal settlements, Israel restricts freedom of movement for Palestinians not only in and out of Palestine but also within it. Israeli settlers, backed by the military, also routinely storm the al-Aqsa mosque and provoke clashes with Palestinian worshipers.