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Israeli demolitions leave 5 homeless in East Jerusalem

Sept. 3, 2014 7:09 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 4, 2014 8:35 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian family's home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina as well as several rooms of a nearby house being used to store aid supplies for Gaza on Wednesday, the owner of the property told Ma'an.

Israeli bulldozers arrived in Beit Hanina and demolished two 60-meter rooms belonging to Hajj Izz Abu Nijma, in what he said was the fifth time that part of his property had been demolished by Israeli authorities.

At the time to the demolition, the rooms were being used to collect food supplies to send to the Gaza Strip. All of the supplies, including rice, sugar, pasta, and canned goods, were destroyed during the demolition.

Abu Nijma said he has been trying to obtain the necessary building permits from Jerusalem's municipality since 1996, but has been rejected every time.

Israeli forces also demolished a housing structure belonging to Abu Nijma's brother, Nadim, where five family members lived.

Tariq was detained after Israeli forces raided the property while he was sleeping, before demolishing the structures.

Bulldozers also demolished a wall surrounding Tariq's land and a structure used to keep horses, dogs and cattle.

Israel destroyed more than 500 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing over 850 people, according to UN figures.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although 550,000 Jewish settlers are frequently given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel says.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has unilaterally annexed, they lack citizenship rights and are instead classified only as "residents" whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

More than 14,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have had their permits revoked since 1967, denying them the ability to ever return to their homes.
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