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Report: Netanyahu instructs officials to issue demolition orders on 'illegal' Palestinian structures

Dec. 16, 2016 2:55 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 17, 2016 2:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly held two meetings over the past weeks regarding the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures inside Israel and occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli news site Arutz Sheva.

Arutz Sheva reported on Thursday that during meetings attended by Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, Netanyahu “instructed” officials to “work to issue demolition orders for the illegal structures, located in Arab town in northern and southern Israel, as well as in eastern Jerusalem.”

“There will be no double standards regarding construction,” Arutz Sheva quoted Netanyahu as saying. “There will be equal enforcement of the law in Israel for both Jews and Arabs.”

Arutz Sheva added that earlier on Thursday, the extreme right-wing Regavim movement filed a petition to the Israel’s Supreme Court against the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration for “neglecting for a decade to demolish an illegal Arab building which is on state land within the administrative borders of the town of Leshem.”

Demolitions of Palestinian structures and homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge this year, with the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 well exceeding the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.

At least 1,580 Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of 2016 -- including 241 in East Jerusalem -- as a result of demolitions in the occupied territory, compared to 757 Palestinians displaced over the entirety of 2015, according to UN documentation.
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