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PLO condemns Israel's demolition campaign in East Jerusalem

Nov. 21, 2018 3:41 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 23, 2018 11:04 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Ahmad Abu Holy, the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLO) refugee department, accused the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem of waging a war on the Shufat refugee camp with the demolition of 20 Palestinian shops “under the illegal pretext of building without a permit.”

Israeli forces along with the Israeli Civil Administration staff stormed the Shufat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem, while bulldozers began to demolish more than 20 Palestinian shops.

The demolition campaign took place under the pretext that the shops were built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit.

Abu Holy said in a statement, “The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem intended to change the character of the camp as part of former West Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat’s plan to end the status of the camp as a refugee camp as part of a bigger plan to end the presence of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Jerusalem and to shut down all its services.”
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He said that “the municipality cancelled the name of the camp as Shufat refugee camp, which has a population of 21,000 Palestinian residents who carry the Jerusalem Israeli identity card, and named it the town of Shufat, which means it will be supervised by the city and falls under its laws and regulations, rather than under UNRWA supervision as the case with all Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied territories and outside them.”

Abu Holy stressed this would mean “changing the status of the camp’s refugees from refugees to non-refugees,” which means “they will be subject to municipality laws and have to pay high taxes on their shops and homes, in order to force them to leave it and move to the occupied West Bank.”

Abu Holy said that changing the status of the Shufat camp’s refugees is part of Israel’s demographic war against the Palestinians, intended to reduce their number in Jerusalem, while multiplying the number of Jews through the construction of illegal Israeli settlements.”

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