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Barghouti slams Israel's demolition plans in East Jerusalem

May 2, 2012 9:53 P.M. (Updated: May 3, 2012 11:34 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- MP Mustafa Barghouti on Wednesday said Israel's decision to demolish seven homes in East Jerusalem was a "declaration of war" on the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian National Initiative secretary-general said the demolition orders were part of Israel's "race against time" to Judaize Jerusalem by imposing facts on the ground.

Activists told the official Wafa news on Wednesday that Israeli officials, accompanied by police and border guards, handed demolition notices to seven households in al-Bustan in the Silwan neighborhood.

Israel is planning to demolish 88 buildings in the area, displacing around 1,600 Palestinians, to build a park, Wafa said.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state. Israel has occupied the city since 1967 and illegally annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

Bargouthi said the demolitions, and Israel's decision Tuesday to move forward with plans to build nine hotels near Beit Safafa in East Jerusalem, call for an escalation in popular resistance to support the resolve of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

France and Jordan, meanwhile, condemned Israel's plans for 1,100 hotel rooms in the Palestinian neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

"The relentless pursuit of settlement activity in East Jerusalem is all the more deplorable because it increasingly undermines the prospect of making Jerusalem the capital of the two States, which is critical for any peace agreement," France said in a statement.

"Such plans appear to be a provocation and are not likely to establish the climate of trust necessary for the resumption of negotiations," it added.

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