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3 structures torn down as East Jerusalem demolitions continue

March 22, 2016 3:13 P.M. (Updated: March 22, 2016 9:08 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Three structures belonging to Palestinians were demolished in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, continuing a recent surge in Israeli demolitions across the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israeli bulldozers tore down a 100-square meter mobile home in Beit Hanina in northern Jerusalem belonging to local resident Majdi Idris, relatives told Ma'an.

Majdi's father, Jamal Idris, said Israeli forces tore down the structure after storming and emptying it. He said his son had been planning to move into into the home in coming days.

Jamal said the demolition took place as their lawyer was en route to an Israeli court to stop it from going ahead. He said the demolition order had been attached outside the house, and they had only happened to see it.

"The order gave us 72 hours to appeal to the court, but the municipality demolished the house after 48 hours," he said.

Meanwhile, in the Ein al-Luza area of Silwan neighborhood, Imad al-Abbasi said that he and his family were forced to demolish their own half-built apartment after an Israeli order gave them 24 hours to do so or incur the municipality's demolition costs.

Imad said the apartment belonged to his father, Khalil al-Abbasi, noting that Jerusalem municipality officials first delivered the demolition order three weeks ago, before issuing a second one two days ago, demanding that they carry out the demolition themselves within 24 hours.

Khader Obeidat, from the East Jerusalem village of Jabal al-Mukabbir, also demolished his own store on Tuesday morning after Israeli forces surrounded it.

Obeidat said that when Israeli forces attempted to carry out the demolition order, he emptied his store, had a bulldozer brought to the site, and carried out the demolition himself -- mostly so as to avoid the store next door being damaged.

He added that that municipality officials were suggesting he should pay a fine to cover the costs of the Israeli bulldozer and its crew that showed up, even though they did not carry out the demolition.

Obeidat said the store was built 12 years ago, and that two demolition orders had been issued since then, the first two years ago, and the second two months ago.

He said he was able to postpone the orders in Israel's courts and had been waiting for a final court decision, but the structure was torn down before such a decision was reached.

The demolitions came a day after Israeli forces tore down another half-built home in Silwan, as well as the foundations of a home in Jabal al-Mukkabir, while residents were forced to demolish their own home in Silwan following an Israeli municipal order.

There has been a surge in home demolitions across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, with approximately 500 Palestinians left homeless since January, according to UN figures.

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