HAMAS, the Palestinian organisation that controls the Gaza Strip, has begun demolishing houses, a move that will leave 120 Palestinian families homeless.
While the demolitions have been reported in the Palestinian media, they have been virtually ignored internationally.
"This is catastrophic for the families involved," said one man, who has visited the families, some of whom are now living in tents.
The man, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, said he believed Hamas officials wanted the land for personal gain.
"My view is that they will then sell the land for much money," he said. "Corruption is getting worse and some people are becoming very rich."
The land is near al-Azhar University in central Gaza City. Despite a blockade on Gaza by Israel and Egypt, large amounts of building materials are entering through smuggling tunnels from Egypt, pushing up land prices.
Hamas did not respond to written questions from The Weekend Australian.
Ma'an, the Palestinian news agency, said Hamas was claiming the houses were built on government land.
One resident told Ma'an some families had lived there since 1948 and that the families had been offered houses near the border with Israel, which they had rejected because of the danger.
The Weekend Australian asked the UN whether it condemned house demolitions by Hamas the way it did demolitions by Israel.
"This is the first time someone has asked me about them," said spokesman Richard Miron, from the UN Special Co-ordinator's Office. "It's a valid question."
Later, after consulting senior UN officials, Mr Miron said the body would not be making a condemnation. "We appear to be dealing with a civil dispute about land," he said.
Asked why the UN was prepared to condemn Israel's demolitions but not Hamas's, he said: "When Israeli authorities go and demolish houses, they are in the position of the occupying power and sometimes these things are done to facilitate the movement of Israeli citizens, which is in breach of international law.
"Where the Israelis might demolish houses of the Bedouins in the Negev, we would not comment because it is within Israel."
He said it was a matter for two other UN agencies, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs or UN Habitat.
But an OCHA official said: "I have nothing to say on it right now. I have not seen the thing you are talking about."
UN Habitat, in turn, said: "We just do technical analysis - this would be a matter for UNSCO or OCHA".
Meanwhile, Israel is preparing to demolish 51 structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya, near Hebron, almost the entire village.
Israeli group Rabbis for Human Rights said this was being being done through "a facade of legalism". The rabbis said 95 per cent of Palestinian requests for building permits between 2000 and 2008, in the largest part of the West Bank Area C, were rejected.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions said that Israel had demolished 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.
when a house is 400 years old , and a the government of that land is only 20 years old , how can the house be on government land ? Its islam that's how
and the UN wont interfere? cause islam cant breach human rights as islam dont recognise any human rights .. so they can do to their own people what they like but if the Israelis say "hey you built that house there after being told not too , so we now have to tear it down" , then the israeli's are criminals , even if the house is where they are building a hospital for the mutts in gaza , the israelis's still get condemned ..
We should not forget that United Nations is exactly what it is called, an organization of NATIONS. It is not a civil rights group for people, or a guarantor of freedom of individuals, it supports and stands up for NATIONS. Had Nazi Germany been a member, the U.N. would have supported the Holocaust as being an internal affair of the Third Reich, and no reason for any other NATION to do anything.
The LOST was intended to protect NATIONS. The arms treaty was intended to protect NATIONS (especially dictatorships and aggressive states) against their own people, not to protect the rights of those people. Those who look to the U.N. for support for civil rights or the rights of individuals are misguided. The U.N. will not take the side of a non-member state or a revolutionary group against a NATION that is a member of the U.N. Too many member NATIONS fear their own people to ever support such a move.