NGOs express ‘grave concern’ over rise in home demolitions

Ir Amim: Appears to be shift in e. J'lem policy, which simultaneously increases demolitions while promoting construction of new housing for Jews.

silwan house demolition 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
silwan house demolition 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Two homes were demolished in east Jerusalem in the past two days, the Israel Committee Against Housing Demolitions reported on Tuesday.
On Monday, a three-room house in Sheikh Jarrah, where the Siyam family lived, was demolished. On Tuesday morning, the Ovada family’s house in Beit Hanina was demolished, the committee said.
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The Jerusalem Municipality denied that any demolitions took place in Beit Hanina on Tuesday. It said that Monday’s demolition was a court-ordered destruction of a three-room addition to an existing structure, and that it was carried out after the courts rejected an appeal.
The Ir Amim NGO expressed in a statement “grave concern for what appears to be a shift in the Jerusalem Municipality’s policy in east Jerusalem, which simultaneously increases home demolitions while promoting the construction of hundreds of new residential units for Israelis in east Jerusalem.”
The number of inhabited structures that were demolished in east Jerusalem jumped from two in the first six months of 2010 to 12 in the month of December alone, according to Ir Amim statistics. Five structures were demolished in the first half of the year, compared with 32 in November and December, the organization said.
“The issue of construction without permits in east Jerusalem is a direct result of decades of Israeli policies that systematically avert the necessary planning and development of this part of the city that would enable Palestinian residents to build according to law,” Ir Amim said.
The Jerusalem Municipality does not keep statistics about house demolitions specific to east Jerusalem, but rather for the whole city.