Israel demolished two homes in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, today claiming they were constructed without a license, eye witnesses said.
Eye witnesses reported that "a large bulldozer belonging to the Israeli municipality arrived this morning at Wadi Yasoul in Silwan accompanied by Israeli police and army forces."
They added: "The Israeli forces surrounded the home of the released prisoner Khalil Abu Rajab and demolished it before demolishing Assem Abu Subaih's home."
Witnesses noted that the "demolition occurred without prior warning. There are concerns that more demolitions will take place in the area."
"Abu Subaih's home consists of three rooms and he lived in it with his five family members. As for Abu Rajab's home, it was made up of two apartments he lived in with seven family members and his mother," sources reported.
These demolitions occurred after Israeli media outlets reported a few days ago that the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat approved a series of sanctions against Palestinians in the city, including demolishing unlicensed homes "in order to stop the phenomenon of throwing rocks".
Various clashes between the Palestinian youth and Israeli forces have continued in a number of neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem since last July.
Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations noted that while the municipality has been increasingly giving building permits to Israelis in East Jerusalem, it is restricting construction work done by Palestinians, which forces many to build without permits.
The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'tselem) said: "While large-scale constructing and major investments are being carried out in Jewish neighbourhoods, the Israeli authorities are working on stifling all development and construction for Palestinian residents, which make up about a third of the city's population."
The Planning and Building Committee of the Israeli Ministry of Interior approved the construction of 500 settlement units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in Shuafat in northern Jerusalem yesterday which provoked Palestinian and international criticism.