JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces stormed the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Baba east of al-Ezariya and demolished several mobile dwellings housing Bedouin families early Thursday, locals told Ma’an.
Large numbers of special Israeli forces gathered near the illegal Maale Adumim settlement before they raided Jabal al-Baba, escorting three bulldozers and officers of the Israeli Civil Administration.
The bulldozers started a wide-scale demolition process targeting structures made of steel, tin sheets and wood. The structures belonged to Bedouin families who have lived in the area since 1948.
East Jerusalem popular committee spokesman Hani Halabiya told Ma'an that the residents were not given any time to evacuate their belongings. Some of the demolished steel structures, he said, have been used as dwellings, while others served as cattle farms belonging to Bedouins from the al-Jahalin tribe.
Halabiyya highlighted that the demolition is part of an Israeli plan to empty the hill of its Palestinian residents, who have been there since they were displaced from their villages in 1948, in order to enlarge Maale Adumim settlement through the so-called E1 area.
The first two structures Israeli forces pulled down belong to Mahmoud Ibrahim Jahalin and Salim Kayid Jahalin. Five people used to live in the first and 14 in the second. Structures serving as poultry and cattle farms were also demolished in an ongoing process.
The local spokesman noted that Civil Administration officers issued demolition and eviction orders to Palestinian families who live in Jabal al-Baba by late February.
The demolition was postponed twice, he said, adding that Israeli forces and bulldozers arrived this morning without prior notice and started demolition immediately.
E1 is an area northeast of Jerusalem and west of the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim. Israeli plans for settlement construction in the area have been strongly opposed by the international community, including the US.
Critics say Israeli settlement construction in E1 would divide the West Bank in two and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state -- as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- virtually impossible.