Wednesday, December 22, 2010

UN : 45% rise in home demolitions in Arab east Jerusalem

UN Humanitarian coordinator says demolitions in W.Bank, e.J'lem up 45% from last year; report Beit Yehonatan to be evacuated within 8 days.

  UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Jerusalem Maxwell Gaylard on Wednesday said that the demolition of an Arab family's home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud "raises serious concerns with regard to Israel’s obligations under international law.”

Gaylard visited the family of 13 whose home was destroyed on Tuesday by order of the Jerusalem municipality because it had been built illegally. The municipality said it was a one-room structure, about 45 square meters in size, built hastily with unsafe building materials. 

The Israeli Committee Against Demolitions said the structure was a proper house with at least four rooms.

A statement released by Gaylard said that 396 Palestinian structures were demolished in east Jerusalem and the West Bank this year, compared to 275 in the previous year – an increase of almost 45 %. As a result , 561 people have been displaced this year, including 280 children, and the livelihoods of over 3,000 people have also been affected.

"The position of the United Nations remains that the Government of Israel must take immediate steps to cease demolitions and evictions in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem,” Gaylard said.

Also on Wednesday, Israel Radio quoted a senior police official as saying the illegally built Beit Yehonatan apartment building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan will be evacuated within eight days.

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has repeatedly ordered that the Jewish built structure be evacuated and sealed up.

The building was built by right-wing families seeking to increase the Jewish presence in the neighborhood, part of which is located on the biblical site of the City of David.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has ignored orders by Weinstein, as well as  former attorney-general Menahem Mazuz and current State Attorney Moshe Lador to evacuate and seal up the building.


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