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Israeli authorities level Palestinian property in Jerusalem

June 10, 2015 10:53 A.M. (Updated: June 21, 2015 3:22 P.M.)
Israeli policeman overlooks al-Issawiya on November 12, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces, escorted by inspectors from Israel's Nature and Parks Authority, destroyed private property in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Issawiya on Wednesday, locals said.

Israeli authorities raided agricultural land in the southern outskirts of the neighborhood, demolishing all trees, a 60-square-meter room, a water well, and a fence without prior notice, local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma'an.

The entire area measured 8.5 dunams, around two square acres, and belongs to the family of Sabri Yahya Darwish, Abu al-Hummus said, adding that the destroyed trees were 10-40 years old and included olive, palm, and pear trees.

“In an attempt to give the impression that the land was deserted, excavators buried the trees with large quantities of earth,” added Abu al-Hummus.

The Israeli inspectors refused to present any warrants prior to the demolitions, Abu al-Hummus said.

The farm, among other private Palestinian lands in the area, was initially slated for confiscation as part of an Israeli plan to build a national park in their place.

Plans for the park intended to confiscate 740 dunams (130 acres) of private land owned by the residents of al-Issawiya, but were rejected in September 2014 by an Israeli Planning and Zoning committee.

In September 2014, an Israeli planning council suspended the plan until the needs of Palestinian neighborhoods could be assessed, however Abu al-Hummus told Ma'an in March the Israeli authorities have ignored the suspension.

Al-Issawiya, along with the rest of East Jerusalem, was seized by Israel along with the West Bank in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Since then, the Israeli government has undertaken a policy of "Judaization" across the city, expanding Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes and property en effort to create a demographic majority in the occupied city, according to the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.

There are now believed to over 300,000 settlers residing in illegal Jewish-only settlements in East Jerusalem, the number expected to rise as the recently formed Israeli parliament is largely comprised of right wingers championing settlement expansion.

Three homes in East Jerusalem neighborhoods were demolished earlier this month, displacing Palestinian families living inside.

Israeli authorities on the Darwish family's destroyed property in al-Issawiya, June 10, 2015. (MaanImages)
Tobias / USA
The East Jerusalem al-Issawiya neighborhood destroyed Israel Nature and Parks Authority lands, with a 60-square-meter room and water well,
and the Parks Authority response was appropriate.
10/06/2015 20:21
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