After eight month freeze - Israel destroys homes in East Jerusalem



The home of a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem was razed to the ground today. An Reuters photographer witnessed the residents carrying out their belongings from the house Beit Hanina neighbourhood, shortly before it was torn apart by an Israeli excavator. Earlier in the day, two unfinished Palestinian homes and part of a factory in the Issawiya district of East Jerusalem were flattened. 

The demolitions were the first to take place for eight months. A police spokesman said no one was injured and there was no violence. IIsraeli authorities said the buildings had been constructed without permits. The residents said permits were impossible to get.

East Jerusalem was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed by Israel in a move that has been condemned internationally.

The United States has publicly urged Israel not to demolish any more Palestinian home. Such acts they say, pose a threat to peace negotiations.
The demolitions have taken place just a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with President Obama to patch up relations strained by Israeli settlement policy in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. During the meeting Netanyahu promised Obama  he would take "concrete steps"  within weeks to try to coax the Palestinians back into direct peace negotiations.

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