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Israeli court freezes 4 demolition orders against homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel

Feb. 5, 2017 9:43 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2017 2:47 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A magistrate court in northern Israel froze on Sunday four demolition orders targeting the homes of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship following an appeal by the homeowners.

The homeowners, represented by lawyer Mahmoud al-Najib Mahajna, expressed relief and appreciation for the decision taken by Hadera magistrate court Judge Jacob Goldberg to freeze the demolition orders in the towns of Ara and Musheirifa in the Wadi Ara region in northern Israel.

Yousif Jabarin, a member of the Arab Joint List coalition representing political parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, said he was closely following up on the cases in Wadi Ara, and stressed the need to keep up popular support for families whose homes are threatened by demolition.

The ruling came a day after a large-scale protest in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv denouncing home demolitions targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Some 5,000 Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel joined the march Saturday night, traveling from Jerusalem and across Israel to protest the demolitions and the Israeli state’s discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens in general.

The issue of home demolitions in Israel has been in the limelight since the beginning of the year, notably due to the outrage caused by the demolitions in the town of Qalansawe and the deadly demolition raid in Umm al-Hiran in January.

The spike in home destructions in these Palestinian and Bedouin areas in Israel came after Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.

After Israeli police used restraint in evacuating Israeli settlers from the illegal Amona outpost in the occupied West Bank earlier this week, Palestinian leadership highlighted the double standard in the use of force in Amona compared to Umm al-Hiran.

Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat denounced the Israeli government for its “fascist” and “extremist” escalation against Palestinian citizens of Israel on Saturday.

"This escalation, characterized by home demolitions and other restrictions against Palestinians in Israel, as well as in the West Bank, and Jerusalem, is a result of fascist alliances between (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and extremist forces in Israel," Erekat said at a gathering held to show support for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Right groups have argued that the aim of home demolitions is to forcibly displace Palestinians from the region, regardless of their status as residents of the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem, or as citizens of Israel -- despite the varying legal justifications used by Israel in each instance.
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