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Israel demolishes Palestinian home in East Jerusalem

Israel demolishes Palestinian home in East Jerusalem

dpa
Ramallah/Tel Aviv
Israeli police completed clearing out a group of houses in a contested Jerusalem neighbourhood on Wednesday, paving the way for a construction project that has been condemned by Palestinian groups as a land grab.
The buildings, home to seven families, have been contested for years.
They have also been the site of a stand-off that started on Sunday, when police began the final clearing operation, with some families holding out until Thursday, armed with glass canisters and flammable materials. One person had allegedly threatened to set himself on fire.
Israel peace activists had also stood vigil at the site in the hopes of delaying the operation. But, after the final building was evacuated, teams moved in to begin the demolition work. Several people were subsequently arrested for violating a court order, violent fortification and disturbing public order.
Disputes over the homes in the Sheikh Jarrad neighbourhood led last year to conflict in the neighbourhood, where Jewish groups have staked claims to ownership. The case is currently before Israel’s Supreme Court.
According to the police, Israel aims to erect a school for children with special needs on the site of the house, in accordance with a zoning decision taken in 2017.
Around a year ago, the Jerusalem district court informed the family that they had to leave their home, noting that there had been a string of attempts to resolve the conflict amicably.
Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, cited the conflict as the cause for large-scale rocket attacks on Israel in May, followed by armed conflict between the two sides lasting 11 days.
At the end of 2016, the UN Security Council called for a complete halt to settlements in the occupied territories, as well as in East Jerusalem, which has been annexed by Israel.
Israel seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War in 1967. More than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in these areas, which the Palestinians claim as territory for their own independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

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