Israeli bulldozers demolish 14 Palestinian apartments in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, � Israeli bulldozers Tuesday demolished 14 Palestinian apartments and razed lands and walls in the East Jerusalem, local sources said.

Escorting a number of bulldozers, Israeli police and Israeli Municipality of West Jerusalem staff raided al-Za’ayyem village, east of Jerusalem, cordoning it off and deploying throughout the alleys.

They proceeded to demolish three residential buildings, including one under construction, a home and retaining walls under the pretext that they were built without a permit.

The demolished buildings reportedly comprised of 13 apartments belonging to Othman Abu Sbeitan, Ahmad Shebr and Ayman al-Dayya.

Police and municipality crews also demolished a Palestinian home under construction during a raid into Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood, southeast of Jerusalem.

Separately, Israeli bulldozers demolished a horse stable during a raid into Sharafat area in Beit Safafa neighborhood, citing unlicensed building as a pretext.

Despite filing building permit applications, Palestinians in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem and Area C, are rarely granted permits by Israeli authorities. As a result, they are forced to embark on construction without obtaining rarely-granted permits.

Israel frequently utilizes the lack of construction permits as a pretext for demolishing Palestinian houses.

Many humanitarian and legal bodies have maintained that Israel have been adopting planning policies discriminatory against Palestinians in West Bank Area C and East Jerusalem, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.

As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met, OCHA reports.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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