by Ma’an News Agency
Israeli forces on Wednesday tore down two buildings in occupied East Jerusalem, claiming one had been built without permits, while the other stood in the way of a new route connecting Israeli settlements.
Locals said that Israeli forces stormed and closed off an area in the Jabal al-Mukabbri neighborhood early Wednesday before bulldozers moved in and demolished a building under construction along with its surrounding wall.
The building’s owner, Ibrahim Ali Surri, told Ma’an that the building measured 60 square meters and he had been intending to move into it in coming weeks.
He said that Jerusalem’s municipal authorities ordered him to halt construction a month ago and he had been trying to obtain the necessary permits since then.
He said Wednesday’s demolition took place “without prior notice.”
Separately, Israeli forces also demolished a home in Shufat neighborhood, reportedly to clear way for a road — Route 21 — which will run through Shufat to connect the illegal Israeli settlements of Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Shlom and Neve Yaakov.
The plans are expected to divide the neighborhood in two and will require the confiscation of hundreds of dunams of land.
The home’s owner, Kifaya al-Rashq, told Ma’an the the home was built 15 years ago and houses 19 family members.
He said that Israeli forces stormed the home and forced his family to evacuate, despite the cold weather, before they proceeded with the demolition.
Some 579 homes have been destroyed in East Jerusalem over the last twelve years, leaving 2,133 Palestinians homeless in total, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Israeli government policies make it nearly impossible for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to obtain building permits, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.