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Israel demolishes 4 homes in East Jerusalem

May 21, 2013 2:18 A.M. (Updated: May 26, 2013 11:29 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished two residential buildings in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Tuesday, having earlier destroyed two Palestinian homes in al-Tur.

Witnesses said that a large Israeli police force surrounded the buildings in Jabal al-Mukabbir and closed off the area before demolishing the buildings.

One building belonged to the Abu al-Dabaat family and consisted of three floors housing four families in four apartments totaling 480 square meters.

"The building has been there since 1973," said Raed Abu al-Dabaat, one of the apartment owners. "It was built on land owned by my father, and he lived there since 1930," he told Ma'an.

"After the building was finished my father was arrested and sentenced to two years for allegedly building without a permit.

"In 2007, we were fined 160,000 shekels ($44,000), and two years later a demolition order was given but we managed to stop it," Abu al-Dabaat said, adding that the family had not received any new demolition orders.

Israeli forces assaulted family members in clashes that erupted before the demolition, and three Palestinians were arrested, a Ma'an reporter said.

The second building was home to the al-Qaq family and housed three people.

The al-Qaq family built the property 13 years ago and received a demolition order in 2002 for lacking a building permit. The demolition order was halted and an Israeli court ordered the family to pay 80,000 shekels ($21,800) as a penalty.

The family then tried to obtain a building permit, but were unable to do so.

Earlier, Israeli forces demolished two houses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur, leaving seven people homeless.

According to the UN, 33 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement.

Figures from Israeli NGO Bimkom show that 95 percent of Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected.

Since 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished some 2,000 houses in East Jerusalem. Over 1,630 Palestinians were made homeless in house demolitions carried out by Israel between 2004-2012, B'Tselem says.
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