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Israel hands demolition notices for two buildings in East Jerusalem area

March 14, 2016 12:41 P.M. (Updated: March 14, 2016 3:40 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities on Sunday handed demolition notifications for two buildings in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, citing construction without building permits, local sources told Ma’an.

Al-Issawiya local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus said Israeli troops raided the neighborhood and handed Fadi al-Issawi and Muhammad Dawood Mahmoud demolition notices for their homes claiming that it was built without prior permission.

Al-Issawi said his house consists of two floors and three apartments and was built in 2001, with prior permission from Israeli municipal authorities.

However, he later expanded the building, and was fined 75,000 shekels ($19,334). Al-Issawi said he had been trying to obtain a permit for the expansion for years.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud said he received a demolition notice for his structure after he built an additional two floors on top of a three-story building which he had built with a permit in 2011. The building hosts ten of his family members, he said.

Mahmoud said Israeli authorities fined him 100,000 shekels ($25,781) for each of the two floors he built without a permit, adding that he was still paying off the fine.

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 than 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 documented.

In January, 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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