JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces demolished several residential and commercial buildings in East Jerusalem on Wednesday, locals said.
Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by military forces, arrived in the neighborhood of At-Tur and demolished a building under construction containing three apartments, owner of the property Khamini Hamdan told Ma'an.
Three shops connected to the building were also destroyed, he added.
The buildings were destroyed under the pretext that they lacked construction permits, although Hamdan said he has been trying to obtain building permission for over 6 months.
Kayed Jaradat, a joint owner of the property, said he had obtained a court-order to suspend demolition orders on the building until May, saying that the construction cost of the property was over 600,000 shekels ($166,000).
Two nearby apartments were evacuated during the demolition, with 40 people forced to leave their homes temporarily.
Since 2004, Israel has demolished 442 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, leaving 1,746 people, including 945 children, homeless, according to B'Tselem.
Palestinian homes are usually demolished under the pretext of not having a building permit. Figures from Israeli NGO Bimkom show that 95 percent of Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected.
Rights groups say that Israel implements a series of discriminatory practices in housing, planning, residency rights and budget allocation in East Jerusalem, with the aim of reducing the number of Palestinians living in the city.