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Israel posts demolition orders in East Jerusalem neighborhood

May 2, 2016 2:44 P.M. (Updated: May 2, 2016 9:53 P.M.)
An Israeli policeman stands looking over the village of Issawiya on Nov. 12, 2014 (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces stormed the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Monday and posted demolition orders on the walls of residential and commercial structures in the area, a local committee member told Ma’an.

Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma’an that Jerusalem municipality inspectors under heavy military protection posted warrants for demolition orders, stop-work orders, and orders to “stop using illegal structures,” and took photos of structures and streets in the area.

He added some of the buildings in question were built several years ago, and others were still under construction.

The structures are located near the main entrance to Issawiya on Ubeid Alley, a street named after “Martyr Zaki Ubeid,” who was killed by Israeli forces.

A medical center and a gas station are among the buildings under threat of being demolished.

“Over the past months, Israeli forces have been waging a campaign against Issawiya, targeting humans and stones,” Abu al-Hummus told Ma’an.

“The neighborhood rarely enjoys a single day without an Israeli incursion, be it from Israeli forces, tax inspectors, or municipality inspectors -- not to mention the permanent Israeli checkpoints at neighborhood entrances where passengers are inspected and drivers are fined arbitrarily.”

Issawiya is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem which are seeing an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of home demolitions and the eviction of Palestinian families.The area has also recently come under heightened presence of Israeli military forces.

The neighborhood was targeted by Israeli forces during a widespread detention campaign in April after an explosive device went off in a Jerusalem bus.

In the aftermath of the incident, Israeli police authorities also distributed Arabic-language leaflets to Issawiya's residents warning against "disturbing the peace" and incitement by Hamas, and also reminded residents of punitive procedures already carried out in neighborhood.

In March, the Israeli authorities handed demolition notifications for two buildings in the Issawiya, citing construction without building permits.

Issawiya residents -- like most Palestinians in Jerusalem -- have long engaged in efforts to prevent their displacement by the Israeli government, which has aimed to establish a Jewish majority since Israel first illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.

Palestinians' ability to build homes or expand existing structures legally is severely limited by the Jerusalem municipality, and more than 3,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished since 1967, according the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department.

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