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Jerusalem municipality carries out demolition of 2 Palestinian homes

Feb. 2, 2016 10:02 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 2, 2016 4:07 P.M.)
Palestinians wait in front of the rubble of a destroyed house after Israeli security forces demolished the homes of two Palestinians behind attacks in the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir in occupied East Jerusalem, on Oct. 6, 2015 (AFP/Thomas Coex, File)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday morning demolished two Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem reportedly build without proper permits from the Jerusalem municipality, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli soldiers and police officers raided the village of Sur Bahir, surrounding a home in the Wadi Abu al-Hummus area of the village and closing off nearby roads before carrying out its demolition.

The owner of the home, IIyad Abu Mahamid, said that he had recently finished building the 200-square-meter house and had planned to move in on Tuesday with his family of seven.

Mahamid told Ma’an that he “was surprised with the demolition” and had been trying to obtain a license from the Jerusalem municipality.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to Yahya Muhsin in the Wadi Qaddum area of the neighborhood of Silwan. Muhsin told Ma’an that the home was still under construction when forces demolished the 220-square-meter structure with bulldozers.

Muhsin added that he began construction on the home seven months ago for his family of eight.

A spokesperson from the Jerusalem municipality was not immediately available for comment on the demolitions.

Palestinians' ability to build homes or expand existing structures legally has been severely limited by the Jerusalem municipality since Israel occupied the city in 1967.

A study by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department reported more then 3,000 Palestinian structures demolished in East Jerusalem since 1967.

According to rights group Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israeli government issues building permits in line with discriminatory state policy enacted to increase the Jewish population, while neglecting local Palestinians.

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, ACRI says.

Over 20 Palestinian-owned structures in the occupied Palestinian territory have been demolished this year alone, after the demolition of over 500 during 2015, displacing more than 600 Palestinians.

Last month, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved recommendations for the “enforcement of regulations” in occupied East Jerusalem, in what Israeli daily Haaretz reported would likely prioritize the demolitions of Palestinian homes.

The daily reported that the new recommendations could expedite the demolition of around some 50,000 houses in Palestinian communities in Israel and Jerusalem.
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