Israeli home demolitions in Jerusalem leave 2 families homeless

06:00 Dec 30 2014 Jabal al-Mukabbir

Israeli home demolitions in Jerusalem leave 2 families homeless Israeli home demolitions in Jerusalem leave 2 families homeless
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Tuesday destroyed three homes, a restaurant, and a butcher shop in the East Jerusalem village of Jabal al-Mukabbir in a dawn raid that left two Palestinian families homeless.

The raid brings the total number of Palestinian properties destroyed by Israeli bulldozers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem so far this year to 561, displacing more than 1,165 people, according to UN figures.

Israeli police escorted inspectors from the Israeli municipality into the neighborhoods of al-Farouq and al-Salaa in the village, where they demolished the homes without allowing residents to remove their belongings and furniture.

Displaced homeowner Khalid al-Halasa said that he and his six family members were not at home when the bulldozer arrived, destroying his 100 square meter home that he only finished building three months ago.

Imad Abu Mayyala told Ma'an that Israeli bulldozers also demolished his 100 square meter house, where he and his seven family members had been living in since August.

Additionally, Israeli bulldozers demolished a restaurant and a butcher shop made of steel bars and tin sheets in the area.

The buildings, which belonged to Aziz Jaabis, measured 70 square meters and had been built seven months ago. Jaabis told Ma'an that his loss from the destruction amounted to 150,000 shekels ($38,000).

Israeli bulldozers also demolished a house that was under construction belonging to a local named Ali Ruweidi. The structure measured 150 square meters.

The bulldozers also demolished a wall surrounding a tract of land in the neighborhood, and leveled the land itself. The owner of the plot was from the Bashir family.

One local, however, managed to avoid saving his structure from the Israeli bulldozers which intended to destroy it during the Tuesday said.

Muhammad Salama Shqeirat told Ma'an that he paid an Israeli court $40,000 shekels ($10,200) and got a court order to stop the demolition of his 90 square meter home, which he completed building three months ago.

Israel rarely grants construction permits to Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and regularly demolishes structures built without permits.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says.

During the 1967 war, Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan, occupied it, and later annexed it in a move never recognized abroad.

The capture was accompanied by massive demolitions in the Old City that involved the displacement of thousands of Palestinians, while home demolitions and other strategies to limit construction in Palestinian areas since then have forced thousands more to have to leave the city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has unilaterally annexed, they lack citizenship rights and are instead classified only as "residents" whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

More than 14,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have had their permits revoked since 1967, denying them the ability to ever return to their homes.
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