Israeli forces demolish East Jerusalem homes
Published Monday 26/08/2013 (updated) 28/08/2013 20:23
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli forces razed several structures in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of al-Tur and Eisawiya under the pretext that they were built without a license.
Locals told Ma'an that a large number of Israeli forces including special forces, police horsemen, and border guard officers raided Khallat al-Ein neighborhood in al-Tur. The invading forces denied residents and journalists access to the area before they forced two families to quickly evacuate their houses for demolition. The families were given only minutes to pull out some of their belongings.
Zakariyya al-Daya told Ma’an that without a prior notice, Israeli forces stormed his house and another house belonging to his brother Abdul-Aziz and ordered the families to evacuate them for demolition. Al-Daya asserted that he had obtained a court decision to suspend the demolition order until October. He tried to show the soldiers the decision but they refused to argue with him and attacked him with pepper spray, he said.
Al-Daya explained that the two houses measured 120 square meters and used to shelter 12 family members. They were built six years earlier on a private tract of land. The Israeli municipal council of Jerusalem then ordered the family to pay a fine of 20,000 shekels followed by another fine of 60,000 shekels which the family is still paying in installments.
Separately, Israeli forces demolished a building under construction in the same neighborhood belonging to Mahir Abu Sbeitan. A member of a Jerusalem follow-up committee, Mufid Abu Ghanam, told Ma’an that the two-story building measured 250 square meters and consisted of four apartments.
He highlighted that Israeli authorities prevent Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from building new houses on their own private land or enlarging their houses to meet natural growth. Meanwhile, he added, Israeli settlements are being expanded without interruption.
The Israelis, according to Abu Ghannam, use trivial pretexts to prevent residents from building houses in al-Tur. Sometimes they claim the lands are conserved open space reserves, then they claim the land has been confiscated to be used for public purposes. “These are all pretexts to take the land for settlements so as to maintain control in Jerusalem.”
Before Israel built the Har Homa settlement on Jabal Abu Ghneim near Bethlehem and Maale Adumim east of Jerusalem, the government used to prevent Palestinian construction in the area by claiming it was dedicated for building national parks. "All of a sudden two major Israeli settlements have been built in the area," he said.
Another Israeli demolition raid targeted Eisawiya village where bulldozers razed three steel structures used as sheep barns and a scrap yard. The barns belonged to Natsha family, while the scrap yard belonged to Gheith family.
Israeli forces leveled an area of 2,000 square meters and uprooted several trees.