Israel Demolishes Residential, Commercial Structures East of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, August 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers Wednesday demolished Palestinian-owned residential and commercial structures in the town of al-Izzariyeh to the east of Jerusalem, citing unpermitted construction as a pretext.

WAFA correspondent said that  large Israeli army and police forces, accompanied by special police units and staff from the so-called civil administration, stormed the town and proceeded to demolish the structures.

The demolished structures included the home of secretary-general of Fatah faction Sami Abu Ghalyeh, and a 20-square-meter mobile home used as a workers’ dormitory, in addition to seven other commercial structures, including a car wash shop, a furniture store, vegetable stands, and a metal shop.

Spokesperson of the popular committee in east Jerusalem area, Hani Halabyeh, informed WAFA that two Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by around 20 military vehicles stormed the town in the predawn hours before proceeding to demolish the aforementioned structures.

He added that several other structures belonging to Abu Ghalyeh were demolished more than once by the Israeli forces, citing the same pretext.

To be noted, the structures are located along the separation wall, which Israel intends, following a court ruling, to resume its construction at the expense of Palestinian-owned land.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided several homes in the town of Yabod to the southwest of Jenin, where they  interrogated the homes’ residents and threatened the home owners to evict them if any rocks were thrown toward passing settlers’ vehicles. The forces threatened the home owners to take the necessary punitive measures against them, in case such incident took place.

On august 21, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, John Kirby, in a statement, expressed deep concern over the recent Israeli escalation of Palestinian home demolitions.

“We are very troubled by the recent escalation of demolitions and evictions, which include the destruction of dozens of structures and the displacement of over 150 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this month alone,” read the statement.

He described these demolitions and evictions as ‘harmful and provocative and indicative of a damaging trend, particularly given settlement-related activity and continued construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.’

In the meantime, 31 Aid groups, including Oxfam and Amnesty International,  denounced Israeli demolitions of homes in the West Bank, where the UN said 63 houses and other structures were destroyed this week alone, making 132 Palestinians homeless, said a statement also issued on August 21.

Citing UN figures, the aid groups said the demolitions made ‘132 people homeless, including 82 children, accounting for a quarter of the displacement from demolitions in 2015 and marking the highest number of people rendered homeless from demolitions in nearly three years’.

The Israeli government, the aid organizations said, should be held ‘accountable for the wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank.’