5 east J'lem homes demolished

5 east Jlem homes demol

By ABE SELIG
October 27, 2009 23:48
2 minute read.

 
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The Jerusalem Municipality carried out the demolition of five illegally built homes in separate neighborhoods of east Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, during which three Border Guard officers were lightly wounded by rocks thrown by local residents. According to a Jerusalem Border Police spokesman, one of the demolitions was carried out in the Jebl Mukaber neighborhood and the other near Anata, on the outskirts of the Shuafat refugee camp. Additional demolitions occurred in Sur Bahir, Silwan, and Um Leisun. The spokesman added that while local residents had pelted officers and the demolition crew with rocks, the officers had refrained from using force against them, and the demolition crew had continued with its work. "We used restraint, and after the crews finished their work, we left the neighborhood," the spokesman said. "Nothing out of the ordinary occurred." The rock-throwing began during the demolition of the first home, which was reportedly home to 11 people, said the spokesman. He said the demolition of the second home, where nine members of a family had been living, passed without incident. According to the municipality, the structures were built without the proper construction permits and were demolished in accordance with court orders. The owner of the second home, Hamis Shahada Tahen, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that right-wing activist Aryeh King had threatened him, telling him that if he refused sell the house, King would have it demolished. King responded that the house had been built on land belonging to him and that the Jerusalem District Court had previously ruled to demolish an illegally built structure. The home had been demolished twice already, also due to a lack of proper construction permits. While many homes in the capital's eastern neighborhoods lack such permits, east Jerusalem residents often complain that acquiring the permits is nearly impossible. Israeli NGO Ir Amim, which works on Israeli-Palestinian issues in the capital, denounced the demolitions, saying in a statement, "At a time when the rising tension in Jerusalem has erupted frequently, the extreme behavior of the municipality is an irresponsible step that could escalate the situation in the city and bring it to a new boiling point. "The 'harvest' that the Jerusalem municipality reaped today in five Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem could plant the seeds of the next escalation in the city," the statement went on. "When any reasonable person is seeking ways to calm tempers and lower the level of tension in the city, the municipality has executed the highest number of demolitions per day in years." Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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