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Israel demolishes church property in Jerusalem, future mass demolitions threatened

February 11, 2014 at 9:43 am

Israeli forces Monday demolished a property in occupied East Jerusalem owned by the Roman Catholic Church, displacing 14 Palestinians.

At a press conference held by the ruins of the home, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Tawwal condemned the demolition in the presence of senior church officials, foreign diplomats and journalists, saying “there is no justification for the demolition” and accusing the Jerusalem “municipality and the Israeli government” of “increase[ing] hatred” through its policies.

Tawwal claimed that it was the first time Israel had demolished property belonging to the church, and promised “legal action in appropriate courts” in response.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that hundreds of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem have recently received demolition orders, notices which give residents 30 days to appeal.

Palestinian-owned properties in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem are routinely demolished by the Jerusalem municipality on the grounds of lacking the right permit – permits that are notoriously difficult to get. For example, just 13 per cent of the Jerusalem housing units granted building permits in the period 2005-’09 were in Palestinian neighbourhoods.