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Israel delivers demolition notices, cuts off water to homes in Silwan

Oct. 24, 2017 4:39 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2017 3:08 P.M.)
Foreign tourists visit on January 11, 2011 the archeological site of the biblical City of David located in the mostly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan (background) (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- For the second time this week, Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Tuesday.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that staff from the Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, escorted by Israeli police, distributed demolition notices to several homes in Silwan under the pretext of being built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli construction permits.

According to Wafa, staff from the Israeli water company Gihon cut off the water supply to a number of homes in Silwan under the pretext of accumulated debts.

A spokesperson for the municipality was not immediately available for comment.

Israeli forces on Sunday delivered demolition notices to the neighborhood, and last week, forces demolished two homes in the area.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.

For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Daniel Seidemann of the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, “Since 1967, the Government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago. So much for (Jerusalem Mayor Nir) Barkat’s claim ‘we build for everyone.’”

According to United Nations documentation, 202 Palestinians were displaced and 116 buildings have been demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year as of Oct. 9. Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.
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