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Israeli authorities demolish Palestinian-owned building in East Jerusalem

July 17, 2017 1:43 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2017 7:30 P.M.)
Site of Monday's demolition in a photo shared on Facebook
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian-owned building on Monday morning in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Zaayyem, according to witnesses.

Bulldozers escorted by Israeli police forces and employees of Israel's Jerusalem municipality razed the home to the ground for lack of a building permit.

A spokesperson for the municipality told Ma'an that the demolition was not within its jurisdiction. However, a spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for enforcing demolitions in the occupied West Bank, later told Ma'an to contact the municipality. 

Last week, Israeli forces targeted Palestinian-owned buildings in occupied East Jerusalem for two consecutive days.

Construction licenses are very expensive and difficult to obtain for Palestinians, notably in the Jerusalem area, in a bid by Israeli authorities to force Palestinians out and change the demographic balance of the city.

While Palestinians frequently take their cases to Israeli courts after Israeli land confiscation and home demolition notices are ordered, they seldom win their cases in court.

Thirty-three percent of all Palestinian homes in the occupied city lack Israeli-issued building permits, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement, the United Nations reported in 2012.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

According to UNOCHA, Israel demolished a record 1,093 structures in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2016, including 190 in East Jerusalem, displacing 1,601 Palestinians. They were the highest West Bank demolition and displacement figures recorded by OCHA since it started doing so in 2009.
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