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Israeli forces demolish 3-story building in East Jerusalem

Aug. 19, 2015 11:07 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2015 12:56 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished a three-story building under construction in the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, locals told Ma'an.

Israeli soldiers and Border Police reportedly escorted bulldozers into the neighborhood in an early morning raid.

They closed the main street and proceeded to demolish the building belonging to the Tawtah and al-Tawatnji families, claiming that it did not have the necessary permits, locals said.

Members of the Tawatah family said that they began work on the three-story building nine months ago, although one of its lower apartments was 80 years old.

They said it that the building consisted of six apartments, with each story measuring 180 square meters.

The family said that an Israeli court demanded they pay a fine of 550,000 shekels ($142,000) to postpone the demolition.

The family said that after they refused to pay the amount, the court ordered the structure's demolition.

They added that the Israeli bulldozers tore down the entire building, including the 80-year-old apartment.

Wadi al-Joz is among a number of Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem where Israeli forces have demolished Palestinian homes and evicted Palestinian families.

While Jewish residents frequently take over Palestinian buildings with the protection of Israeli forces, government policies make it nearly impossible for Palestinian residents to obtain building permits, according to Israeli rights group the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

So far this year, 19 Palestinian homes have been demolished in occupied East Jerusalem, leaving 13 Palestinians homeless, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

Nearly 570 homes have been destroyed over the last twelve years, leaving 2,128 Palestinians homeless in total, the group reports.

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