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Israeli forces demolish 2 homes in East Jerusalem

May 29, 2013 1:39 P.M. (Updated: May 30, 2013 3:20 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Wednesday.

Israeli forces surrounded the properties and closed off the area to media and onlookers, before bulldozers moved in to demolish the houses.

The two homes were owned by Badran al-Salameh, who told Ma'an that he had received no prior notice that the municipality would demolish the properties.

"My son's wife and his two kids were the only ones inside the house. I tried to reach my home when I heard from neighbors but Israeli officers banned me. I wanted to take out my wife's gold and money from one of the drawers," al-Salameh said.

The homes were built 13 years ago and housed 10 people.

The houses were built without municipal permission because Israel kept refusing to issue permits for construction, al-Salameh said.

The houses received a demolition order in 2002 and al-Salameh had to pay 250,000 shekels ($67,000) in fines.

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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