Israel Demolishes Residential, Commercial Structures in East Jerusalem Neighborhood

JERUSALEM, July 28, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities early Tuesday demolished Palestinian owned residential and commercial structures in East Jerusalem’s town neighborhood of Silwan.

WAFA correspondent and Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that Israeli troops accompanied two bulldozers into the Silwan area of ‘Ayn al-Lawza, where they proceeded to demolish stores and residential facilities purportedly for being built without necessary construction permits.

Police cordoned the locality off in advance, preventing Palestinian residents from approaching the property in Silwan, which flanks the southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound and stands nearby ‘Ir David’ (City of David), a large archeological site.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center identified the property owner as Khalil al-‘Abbasi.

The center reported on al-‘Abbasi, one of the two owners, as saying that Israeli troops raided his two carpet stores, each occupying 100 meter square, and 100-meter-square apartment under construction in ‘Ayn al-Lawza area of Silwan, ransacking them, destroying their doors and throwing their goods out before proceeding to demolish them.

Al-‘Abbasi added that his family was prevented from accessing the stores and apartment, which were built back in September 2014.

Separately, Israeli troops escorted two bulldozers into the Silwan locality of ‘Ayn al-Foka, where they demolished two stores and two residential units, one residential and the other used for raising poultry, belonging to Eyad al-‘Abbasi.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported on Iyad as saying that troops surrounded the property and destroyed the doors using manual tools and a small bulldozer, forcing Iyad and his family members to wake up before proceeding to demolish them.

Iyad was also reported as saying that his property, occupying a total area of 70 meters square, was built 10 years ago and his family was handed several notices to demolish their property purportedly for unlicensed building on green land.

According to Iyad, Israel decided to demolish his property as a pretext to seize and transform their land into a ‘biblical park’, especially after his family refused to sell their plot of land, occupying an area of five dunums, to the far-right settler group of Elad.

The two demolitions took place without any prior notice.

Elad settler organization has been planning to build a massive archeological visitors’ center, known as ‘Kedem Compound’ in Silwan. The organization’s construction plan was approved by the so-called Israeli Higher Planning Council in last June.

‘Elad’ organization plans to build the new center on top of an archeological excavation site. The organization itself, Elad, the Hebrew acronym for the so-called ‘To the City of David’, is a private settler organization that was founded in 1986 with the explicit goal of displacing Palestinians from East Jerusalem and settling Jews in their place. It achieves this by providing assistance in the ‘purchase’ or seizure of Palestinian properties.