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Israel carries out 3rd East Jerusalem home demolition in 2 days

Jan. 21, 2015 10:28 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2015 9:26 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Wednesday destroyed a Palestinian building in the Shufat neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the third such home demolition in the occupied city in the last two days.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli special forces accompanied by bulldozers raided the neighborhood and surrounded a building before almost immediately beginning to demolish it.

At the same time, local residents and journalists on the scene were prevented from approaching the area.

Sources told Ma'an that the Israeli authorities claimed the demolition was related to "security purposes" and was carried out because the structure was constructed without a license.

Local Walid Bishara told Ma'an that the building belonged to the Bishara, Mukheimar and al-Mashni families and that it was built a year and a half ago.

Bishara added that after the building was completed, Israel prevented the families from moving into it and then issued the demolition order.

"They ordered us to seal the building until we get a license in order to make sure it did not get demolished."

"We sealed the building and did not use it for any purpose," he told Ma'an. "We worked on getting a license issued but we did get initial approval, but several Israeli courts ruled to demolish the building because of security reasons and the latest ruling was issued by the Israeli central court."

The building consisted of two floors with four apartments in total and it cost 500,000 shekels to build ($127,000), in addition to more than $40,000 (158,000 shekels) that the families paid to get the licenses and to delay the demolition orders.

The incident was the third such demolition carried out in the last two days.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces raided the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabir in East Jerusalem and demolished a home that was intended to house a local pair that was engaged to be married.

Around 150 demolitions orders are pending in the Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood, a local official told Ma'an.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, Israeli forces stormed the East Jerusalem town of al-Isawiya before dawn and demolished a Palestinian house allegedly being built without a license from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.

Israel rarely grants construction permits to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and regularly demolishes structures built without permits.

Israeli bulldozers demolished at least 359 Palestinian structures in the West Bank in 2014, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

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.

Jerusalem Palestinians face discrimination in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel's separation wall.
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