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Jerusalem municipality staff threatens to demolish Silwan buildings

Oct. 12, 2018 4:43 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 14, 2018 10:47 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem's staff, escorted by Israeli police forces, stormed the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, on Friday.

Residents of Silwan told Ma'an that staff from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem stormed several areas of the neighborhood, under armed protection by Israeli police forces, and photographed residential and commercial buildings and raided a few of them.

The staff briefly confiscated the ID's of some residents and documented their names.

The staff also threatened to demolish the buildings that were built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit and handed out summon notices for several residents to meet with the municipality.

Residents pointed out that the staff regularly storms Silwan every week and takes pictures of the residential and commercial buildings, as well as agricultural lands.

Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis.

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.'"

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