Israel planning wave of Jerusalem house demolitions 13Oct09 October 14, 2009

Ma’an News Agency -  13 October 2009


Israeli authorities are planning to demolish 150 Palestinian houses, home to about 1,000 people in East Jerusalem, according to a new report from the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights.

The leveling of two structures in the town of Beit Hanina on Monday were the first of a series that Israeli officials are planning over the coming year, the center said in a report released on Tuesday.

In a statement released Tuesday the center explained the demolition orders were issued during the administration of former Israeli Jerusalem Mayor Uayor Uri Lupolianski, who finished his term as the head of the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality in 2008. The orders were recently renewed under the current mayor, Nir Barkat, the center said.

The center’s research unit reports that the majority of the houses under threat are in the neighborhoods of Beit Hanina, Shu’fat, Al-Ashqariyya, Nusayba, Silwan, Ath-Thuri, Al-Mukabbir, Sur Bahir, At-Tur, Az-Za’yyim, Iisawiyya, and Ras Khamis. Many of the houses slated for destruction were build at least three years ago.

The group of houses under threat does not include another 125 houses and apartments whose owners were given demolition orders in the neighborhoods of Al-Bustan, Al-Abbasiyya, and Wadi Hilwa.

On Monday, witnesses told Ma’an, Israeli troops forcibly evicted Amjad At-Taleiqi and his family of five from their 70-sqaure meter house in Beit Hanina before flattening it with bulldozers. At-Taleiqi’s hands were bound until the demolition was complete, witnesses said.

Israel frequently demolishes houses because they have been built without permits. Palestinian residents universally report, however, that such permits are nearly impossible to obtain.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports that Israel have demolished about 420 Palestinian-owned houses in East Jerusalem since 2004 on the grounds that they were built without permits.

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