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Israel demolishes 2 homes in East Jerusalem

Dec. 5, 2011 9:37 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 7, 2011 11:15 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, locals said.

In Beit Hanina, troops bulldozed the temporary residence of a man who took shelter there after he could not get a permit from the Israeli municipality to build his house, the official PA news agency Wafa reported.

In Silwan, Israeli forces tore down the house of Burhan Burqan, that was home to nine people.

"Israeli troops came at five in the morning to demolish the house and were done by 7 am. They also demolished our barn that had some poultry in it," Burqan said.

The two homes were "illegal, with court-issued demolition orders," an Israeli interior ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

Research by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees found that 990 people -- including 507 children -- have lost their homes in demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem so far this year, more than double the number in 2010, spokesman Chris Gunness told Ma'an on Monday.

"The loss of a home in normal times is highly destabilizing, but in the context of occupation and annexation it often becomes lastingly traumatic, especially for children," Gunness said.

He added: "The United Nations calls on the Israeli authorities to abide by their obligations under international law, of which these displacements and demolitions are a clear violation."

Gunness said 515 Palestinian structures have been demolished in the West Bank this year, of which 22 were in East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government last month announced tenders for the construction of 800 housing units in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, which it occupied in the 1967 Six Day war and annexed shortly afterwards in a move never recognized internationally.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its "eternal and indivisible" capital, while Palestinians insist the eastern sector must form the capital of their promised state.

AFP contributed to this report
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