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Israel demolishes Palestinian-owned building in East Jerusalem

Aug. 15, 2018 11:25 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 4:19 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers demolished a residential building in the Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning, under the pretext of building without an Israeli permit.

Local witnesses said that large numbers of Israeli forces and special units, accompanying bulldozers, stormed the neighborhood from its eastern entrance.

Israeli forces raided the neighborhood, surrounded the are and prevented movement near the building.

Witnesses added that the bulldozers demolished an under-construction residential building under the pretext that it was built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli building permit.

The building belonged to Palestinian resident, Nader Nasser Abu Riyaleh.

Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee in the Issawiya neighborhood, confirmed that Israeli bulldozers demolished two apartments, which were still under construction, in the residential building.

Abu al-Hummus added that the Israeli municipality purposely delays approval procedures of the structural map of Issawiya.

He pointed out that the Israeli municipality issues demolition orders for residential houses, commercial and agricultural establishments, in addition to imposing fines and transferring cases to Israeli courts under the pretext of unauthorized construction almost on a daily basis.

Abu al-Hummus said that last week, Israeli forces had distributed demolition notices to several houses and residential buildings, in which dozens of Palestinian families live.

He called on the committees and institutions of Issawiya to approve the structural map of the neighborhood, in order to prevent demolition orders and unfair violations against Palestinians who suffer from difficult economic conditions.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians the necessary permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that in comparison 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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