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Israel razes Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Nov. 18, 2009 11:12 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 19, 2009 3:06 P.M.)
Jerusalem – Ma'an – Israeli bulldozers demolished a two-family Palestinian home in the town of Al-Isawiya in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday, the second home demolition in two days.

Residents of the town said Israeli forces entered the village with three bulldozers on the premise of carrying out demolition orders, and noted Israeli police and border guards blocked off the main entrances of the community.

In response, Palestinians threw up make-shift barricades using rocks and dumpsters in an attempt to halt the bulldozers' progress toward the targeted building, a 240-square-meter structure owned by Abdul-Halim Dari, and Ibrahim Dari.

The Israeli vehicles forced their way through the road-blocks and razed the building, witnesses said.

While in the town, Israeli municipal authorities handed over demolition orders to 14 families bringing the overall number of homes facing demolition in the community to 70.

Witnesses added that residents pelted Israeli police and Jerusalem Municipality agents with stones as they left the town. Some police and border guards stayed behind, imposing what residents described as a "siege" on the town, restricting movement in and out.

Al-Isawiya is now one of the most densely-populated towns in northeast Jerusalem after Israel confiscated 10,000 dunums (a dunum is 1,000 square meters) of its 12,000-dunum area. About 15,000 people live in an area of 2,000 dunums which remain.

Separately, Israeli police and Jerusalem Municipality officers raided the main entrance to Shu’fat Refugee Camp and confiscated large quantities of vegetables from street vendors and demolished their stands. The vegetable vendors, all West Bank residents, were beaten and some were arrested.

Israel's continued demolition program in Jerusalem was condemned on Tuesday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who stated that, "Punitive demolitions should cease immediately."

The UN’s chief’s comments came after Israeli forces demolished a four story house in Wadi Qaddoum, south of the Old City of Jerusalem as the family looked on. The building was home to 30 people.

Israel frequently demolishes houses in East Jerusalem on the grounds that they are built without construction permits. Palestinians in the city say that such permits are nearly impossible to obtain. The last home demolition took place Tuesday, where a four-family home owned by the Al-Husseini family was bulldozed and its 30 residents rendered homeless.

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