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MIDDLE EAST

Israel Demolishes Dozens of Palestinian Homes in East Jerusalem

Israel demolished a group of Palestinian homes near a military barrier on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday, despite protests and international criticism. (Photo: YouTube)
Israel demolished a group of Palestinian homes near a military barrier on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday, despite protests and international criticism. (Photo: YouTube)

Last month, the Israeli Supreme court ruled that houses built in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher violated a construction ban. Palestinians contend the majority of the houses are in an area that belongs to the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli bulldozers knocked down on Monday multiple Palestinian apartment buildings in the internationally recognized occupied East Jerusalem, a move condemned and criticized by various regional and international bodies and governments.

According to local sources in the neighborhood, a southern Palestinian outskirt of East Jerusalem, several hundred Israeli soldiers and policemen forced residents of the Wadi Al-Homs area from their homes at dawn. The sources said that at least seven buildings, inhabited by dozens of residents, have been demolished.

“At least 1500 Israeli security personnel stormed the Wadi Al-Homs area in Sur Baher and bulldozers began demolishing 16 homes and apartment buildings after having forced out inhabitants to the streets. The demolitions took place in A area, whose jurisdiction belongs to the Palestinian Authority,” Hamada Hamada, head of the Wadi Al-Homs neighborhood association told the Palestinian Maan News Agency.

Adjacent to Israeli Security Fence

The Sur Baher outskirt of East Jerusalem straddles the occupied West Bank in an area where Israel erected a separation barrier in the early 2000s, stating it prevented infiltration by Palestinians into nearby Israel. Israel believes the barrier, a concrete wall, two wire fences, a watchtower, electronic sensors and a military patrol road, diminishes the possibility of suicide bombers and shooting attacks. The Israeli court agreed the dwellings could provide cover for any attack.

Gilad Erdan, the Israeli internal security minister, commented on the demolitions saying the move was necessary for security considerations, given the fact that the dwellings being demolished are very close to the separation barrier.

Palestinian Response

Palestinians have considered the separation barrier as an apartheid wall that shows a racist face of the state of Israel and aims at grabbing more Palestinian-owned properties and lands. The Palestine Liberation Organization, which signed peace accords with Israel in 1993, regards the latest wave of demolitions as unprecedented and constitutes a new Israeli war crime.

The PLO now wants revision of all past-signed agreements with Israel in light of the demolitions. In a televised speech, from his Ramallah-based office, top Palestinian negotiator and Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, Saeb Erakat, blamed the recent U.S. backing of Israel for such unprecedented action.

“We would like to say it out loud to those who supported the recent Manama workshop for prosperity in the occupied Palestinian territories, just come and see how prosperous the Israelis want our Palestinian people to be,” Erakat said sarcastically.

International Condemnation 

United Nations sources suggest that about 350 Palestinians in the Sur Baher neighborhood of the occupied East Jerusalem face the threat of being displaced since Israel is going ahead with more demolitions in the Wadi Al-Homs neighborhood. The international organization warned against consequences of such an Israeli move, calling on the Israeli government to halt it.

The European Union condemned the demolitions and believes they would undermine chances for peace, based on a long-envisioned two-state solution.

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, of which the Palestinian Authority is a member, also condemned the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes.

Palestinians Blame US

Commenting to Citizen Truth on the demolitions, Gaza-based political analyst, Dr. Hussam Aldajany believed that international condemnation of the demolitions is not enough and that action is needed.

“Unfortunately, there has been a long series of pending-implementation U.N. resolutions, pertaining to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The latest of which was  UNSC’s resolution 2334 of 2016, which criminalized Israeli settlements buildings in occupied Palestinian territories,” Aldajany said.

Asked by Citizen Truth why Israel has taken the action, following seven years of court-based controversy over the now-demolished homes, Aldajany said, “In fact, Israelis could not have made it without the absolute U.S. backing of Israel as well as the recent moves of normalization between Israel and some key Arab countries. You know that the U.S. recognized the whole Jerusalem area including east and west parts of the city, as the capital of Israel. The U.S. went further by moving its embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Last week, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was quoted as saying, “Israel has the right to annex some parts of the West Bank.”

Friedman, himself, had earlier participated in an inauguration ceremony for the opening of an underground tunnel beneath the Muslim third holiest mosque of Al-Aqsa in east Jerusalem. The tunnel leads to the Jewish Wailing Wall, known among Muslims as the Buraq Wall.

Long-Time Unilateral Israeli Moves

Since the eruption of the second Palestinian uprising or Intifada in 2000, Israel began accelerating settlement building on the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Intifada came in the wake of the failure of Camp David II peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, under the auspices of former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

Palestinian-Israeli peace talks stalled five years ago, when Palestinians demanded the halt of all Israeli settlements activities as a prerequisite for any peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestinians.

In June 1967 Israeli forces occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip during the Arab-Israeli War. The U.N. Security Council at that time demanded an immediate withdrawal from those territories by means of the security council resolutions 242 and 338. In the 1970s Israel began settlement activities in the occupied territories. Israel named the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, which Israel believes to be exclusively Israeli land.

There are currently approximately 215,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem while the settler population in Area C in the occupied West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, is about 413,000. This brings the settler population to approximately 630,000 Israeli settlers in 143 settlement locations in the West Bank (132) including East Jerusalem and 106 outposts.

 

 

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Rami Almeghari

Rami Almeghari is a freelance independent writer, journalist and lecturer, based in the Gaza Strip. Rami has contributed in English to several media outlets worldwide, including print, radio and TV. He can be reached on facebook as Rami Munir Almeghari and on email as [email protected]

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4 Comments

  1. Larry Stout July 23, 2019

    In the Thesaurus of World Politics, look up “Israel”. There you will find the synonyms “arrogance”, “Impunity”, among other nice terms…probably should include “U.S. government”.

    Reply
    1. William Bilek July 24, 2019

      “Israel Demolishes Dozens of Palestinian Homes”. Not exactly!
      “Israeli equipment arrived before dawn on Monday and began clawing at the first of 10 Palestinian apartment blocks that were scheduled for demolition because the government said they were built too close to its security barrier in a Palestinian area of the West Bank abutting Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.”
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/22/world/middleeast/israel-demolition-palestinian-housing.html

      “Last month, the Israeli Supreme court ruled that houses built in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher violated a construction ban.” Not exactly!
      “The court’s dismissal of the case brought an end to the residents’ seven-year legal battle against a military order that halted work on the 16 apartment buildings.”

      “The court “ruled unequivocally that those who built houses in the area of the security fence knew that building in that area was prohibited, and took the law into their own hands,” Mr. Erdan said.”

      “inhabited by dozens of residents, ” Not exactly!
      “United Nations officials said that 17 Palestinians, including an older couple and five children, were being displaced by the demolitions. ”

      “The demolitions took place in A area, whose jurisdiction belongs to the Palestinian Authority,” ” Not exactly!
      On issues of security, the occupying nation has the absolute right to carry out activities compatible with assuring security.

      “in an area where Israel erected a separation barrier in the early 2000s, ” in a defensive response to the murder of over 1000 Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists coming out of exactly that area during the 2nd intifada.

      “diminishes the possibility of suicide bombers and shooting attacks. ” Indeed, such attacks have decreased by 98%

      “Palestinians have considered the separation barrier as an apartheid wall that shows a racist face of the state of Israel” Absolutely! Protecting Israeli civilians from terror is absolutely racist.

      “grabbing more Palestinian-owned properties and lands.” When exactly, and by what law or legal process did ANY land EVER LEGALLY become “Palestinian land”?

      “The Palestine Liberation Organization, which signed peace accords with Israel in 1993, ” Never happened. Otherwise how do you explain the 2nd intifada, and the repeated Gaza wars?

      “a long series of pending-implementation U.N. resolutions”. Nonsense! ALL UN resolutions that are not passed under Chapter VII of the Charter are merely OPINIONS, and non-legally binding recommendations.

      “In June 1967 Israeli forces occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip during the Arab-Israeli War.” Not exactly. It was as a result of the failed Arab attack in 1967.

      “The U.N. Security Council at that time demanded an immediate withdrawal from those territories ” Not exactly! UNSC 242 and 338 (not legally binding) spoke only of “territories”, not “the territories”. That requirement was fully met by Israel’s return of the Sinai to Egypt.

      “Israel named the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, ” Not exactly! Judea and Samaria were the correctly used names for 3000 years, up to and including in UNGA 181 in 1947, and then again since 1967. For only 19 years were the other terms used, imposed by the illegal Jordanian occupation of those areas.

  2. Larry Stout July 25, 2019

    Neanderthals were the first human inhabitants of Palestine. The historic period dates back 5,000 years. Who lived in Palestine then? The court of world opinion says that your out-of-Egypt and God’s-chosen-people baloney is no excuse for invasion and ethnic cleansing, including murder and mass murder..

    Who was inhabiting Manhattan and Brooklyn when? How about some right of return and ethnic cleansing there?

    Reply
    1. William Bilek July 25, 2019

      “The court of world opinion says ”
      The court of world opinion has no say, legally or morally.

      “no excuse for invasion” There was no “invasion”. There was compliance with international law, written in 1922, valid today:
      ART. 6.
      The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

      ” and ethnic cleansing”. There was no “ethnic cleansing”. Most of the Arabs fled at the behest of their leadership without ever seeing an Israeli. That is well documented in contemporaneous media reports and available on line (or I can provide it).

      ” murder and mass murder.” I think you mean “war”…..a war, BTW that was initiated by the Arabs.

      “In the Thesaurus of World Politics, look up “Israel”. ” You will find:
      economic miracle
      singular nation state of the Jewish People on earth
      vibrant democracy
      start-up nation
      https://mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/nations/pages/israel%20among%20the%20nations-%20middle%20east%20-%20north%20afri.aspx
      https://mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/nations/pages/israel%20among%20the%20nations-%20europe.aspx

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