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ICAHD founder Jeff Halper arrested for attempting to stop house demolition in Jerusalem

April 2, 2008 11:51 A.M. (Updated: April 2, 2008 11:51 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli police arrested Jeff Halper, the founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) for attempting to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian house in the town of Anata, within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning.

He was detained at the Metsudat Adumim police headquarters for two hours before being released. He has not yet been charged with any criminal offence but has been told he may face criminal proceedings.

"It's not clear if they're going to press charges," Halper told Ma'an after his release, adding that he may be facing a jail sentence if charged. "I've run out of hours of community service so they'll have to put me in jail but I doubt that it'll happen."

Israeli police removed the furniture from the Hamdan family home in Anata before Israeli bulldozers moved in and leveled the house, an ICAHD spokesperson said.

Meir Margalit, ICAHD field coordinator, appealed to a Jerusalem municipal court on Wednesday for a stop demolition order. The appeal was rejected, ICAHD said.

The house that was home to 12 members of the Hamdan family, had been previously demolished in December 2005, and was rebuilt by international volunteers last summer as an act of civil disobedience against the policy of house demolitions.

"Ending house demolitions is in the first phase of the Road Map. This [house demolitions] is just spitting in the face of the Quartet. We're supposed to believe there's a peace process but the occupation are doing everything they can on the ground - building the separation wall, building settler roads and house demolitions," Halper said.

"The peace process is a sham. Israel doesn't even pretend they are not doing any of these things. This shows the whole impotence of the peace process," he added.

ICAHD says that 88% of land in Jerusalem is not zoned for Palestinian construction. As a result, building permits are nearly impossible to obtain, and houses are routinely demolished on this pretext.

28 homes have been demolished in Jerusalem since the beginning of 2008, ICAHD says.

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