Israel orders demolition of Jerusalem homes

12:00 Dec 28 2011 Salaa, Wadi Yasul, and ein al-Louza districts, east Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces and municipality officials raided a number of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to deliver warrants for their demolition, locals said on Wednesday.

Soldiers escorted the officials to order the destruction of homes in Salaa, Wadi Yasul and Ein Al-Louza districts of Silwan, local committee for defense of Silwan land Abdul-Kareem Abu Sneina said.

"To face Israel's attempt to put new facts on the ground, a new house should be built whenever a house is demolished," Abu Sneina said.

Israel is working to establish new settlements and outposts in different Jerusalem neighborhoods, he noted, adding that Palestinian inhabitants must maintain their presence in the city.

Spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees Chris Gunness told Ma'an the demolitions were illegal under international law.

"So many of these demolitions relate to the illegal annexation of Jerusalem, settlement expansion and forcible population transfers which are grave breaches of the fourth Geneva convention.

"The UN is monitoring each demolition. And as well as bringing assistance to those affected, we will continue to press for full accountability against those individuals responsible for breaking the law," Gunness said.

In a report released in early December, UNRWA found that 990 people -- including 507 children -- had lost their homes in 2011, more than double the number displaced in 2010.

Israeli authorities demolished 515 Palestinian structures in the West Bank this year, of which 22 were in East Jerusalem, UNRWA said.

Israel annexed the city's eastern sector -- which Palestinians insist is the capital of their future state -- after a 1967 war, in a move never recognized internationally.
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