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Israel razes East Jerusalem home

Sept. 22, 2010 12:31 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 23, 2010 9:52 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces razed a home and small animal shelter in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of At-Tur on Tuesday, after the owner was told the home was built without a license.

Wael Darwish Da’na, father of ten, said he had been served with a warning notice two months earlier, but had hired a lawyer to contest the demolition.

The petition was filed but no court date was set, Da'na said, adding that he was nonetheless surprised when Israeli police arrived at his home and began evacuating the family.

The home was a one-story structure approximately 20 square meters in size, and the stables were 200 square meters and home to five horses and 50 sheep, he said.

The demolition was first reported since July, and since Israeli and Palestinian officials began direct negotiations.

Officials from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem said the demolition was not carried out under their jurisdiction. A request for comment was directed to Israel's Civil Administration, who noted that the civil branch of the Israeli army did not operate in East Jerusalem.

A 2009 report conducted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that because of the difficulties Palestinians encounter trying to obtain building permits from Israeli authorities, and due to the lack of feasible alternatives, many Palestinians risk building on their land without a permit in order to meet their housing needs.

At least 28 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been built in violation of Israeli zoning requirements, according to the report. Based on population figures, this percentage is equivalent to 60,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who are at risk of having their homes demolished by Israeli authorities.
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