Update: Israel Demolishes Four Homes in Jerusalem in Less than 3 Hours

JERUSALEM, November 2, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Monday demolished three Palestinian private-owned homes in Beit Hanina, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, few hours after demolishing a home in Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood, according to the owners.

Witnesses said staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem accompanied by heavy machinery and a security escort cordoned off the area after 8:30 PM, and proceeded to demolish three concrete rooms that were recently added to three neighboring apartments in a building.

The three demolished structures, each 55 square meters in size, were constructed about a year and half a year ago and added to already built ground-level apartments.

Local activists told WAFA the demolition of the three structures, which belong to members of the Dsouki and Najm families, were implemented despite a court’s ruling to postpone the demolition until November 10, 2015.

The Israeli authorities claimed the construction of the three structures was unpermitted, a pretext that Israel frequently uses to legalize demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and in Area C of the West Bank, under Israeli administrative and military control.

During the demolition, Israeli police assaulted local Palestinians as well as journalists, and denied them access to the scene, said witnesses.

Earlier this morning, the Israeli municipality demolished a Palestinian-owned home sheltering a family of seven in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabir in the city, under the same pretext.

In September 8, 2015, a United Nations report said, according to official data released by the Israeli authorities, more than 11,000 demolition orders were outstanding in the 60% in Area C of the West Bank.

These orders, which affect an estimated 13,000 Palestinian-owned structures, including homes, are among the over 14,000 demolition orders issued by the Israeli Civil Administration between 1988 and 2014, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“These orders heighten the vulnerability of thousands of poor Palestinian households, some of whom are at imminent risk of forcible displacement,” said the office.

Today nearly 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C, while nearly 360,000 Jewish settlers live in 135 settlements and 100 settlement “outposts”, which are considered illegal under international law.