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Israeli forces demolish buildings in East Jerusalem

Jan. 28, 2013 11:54 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 6:51 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces demolished at least four buildings and a sewage network in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan early Monday, locals said.

Bulldozers leveled land and uprooted olive trees in order to access the demolition sites, closing all the surrounding roads, witnesses told Ma'an.

The raid, shortly after the dawn prayer, prompted clashes with local residents. Witnesses said several youth were detained by Israeli police, including Khalid al-Zeir and Firas Awad. An Israeli police spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Silwan resident Abdul-Munim Shuweiki said forces demolished a fence and uprooted 10-year-old olive trees to access his land.

The bulldozers razed his garage and a steel building, damaging an external staircase, he told Silwan's Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

Ahmad Simrin, who owns land in the area, said Israeli bulldozers leveled parts of his land and demolished a sewage network.

He told the Wadi Hilweh Center that he showed an Israeli commander a title deed dating back to 1892, which proves that the land was owned by his grandfather Awad Simrin. Israel does not recognize that deed and insists the area is a national park, he said.

Israeli bulldozers also demolished a tin-roofed room in the neighborhood, which was built in 1956, according to owner Faraj Shukeir.

The demolition also damaged an older room and the front yard of the house.

Israeli forces then demolished a newer house, built eleven years ago and inhabited by a family of four, belonging to Silwan resident Ayman Shukeir.

Silwan -- adjacent to the Old City's Dome of the Rock compound and Western Wall -- is a populated by a number of settler homes under heavy Israeli guard, and the site of frequent clashes with forces on arrest raids targeting the Palestinian population.

Israel insists that Jerusalem is its "eternal and indivisible" capital, and annexed the city's eastern sector after a 1967 war in a move never recognized by the international community.

For Palestinians, East Jerusalem is the capital of their promised state.
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