Holy Land: more homes demolished in East Jerusalem

 A series of home demolitions has been carried out by Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem this week.

The Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr Saeb Erekat said: "While the international media was transfixed on the results of the US elections, Israeli forces were tearing up the homes of Palestinian families to build new settlements, further their control of occupied East Jerusalem and pre-empt final status negotiations," he said.

Beginning on Tuesday, 4 November, and continuing until yesterday morning, Israeli authorities demolished a total of five Palestinian structures, including four homes and one wedding hall in Beit Hanina, Shuafat and the Al-Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan. The Israeli demolitions, which resulted in the displacement of more than 20 Palestinians, most of them children, were met by unarmed protests from local Palestinians. The demolitions in Silwan are part of an Israeli plan to demolish more than 80 houses in the area to build a park connected to the planned settlement of "Ir David".

"A year after Annapolis, we cannot stand idly by while Israel steps up its aggressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territory," Dr Erekat continued. "The Quartet must intervene to protect Palestinians and their homes - and to hold Israel to its commitments. These latest violations underscore the urgent need to establish an enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with Road Map obligations."

At the US-sponsored international Conference in Annapolis on 27 November 2007, Israel reaffirmed its Road Map commitments, including halting "confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property" and "freez[ing] all settlement activity." Since Annapolis, Israel has accelerated its demolitions of Palestinian homes and its settlement activity.

So far, Israel has destroyed 94 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem since the Conference was held. In the remainder of the occupied West Bank, 235 Palestinian homes and other structures have been demolished since Annapolis, of which 220 were demolished in 2008.

By contrast, in 2007, 78 Palestinian homes were demolished in occupied East Jerusalem, while a further 208 Palestinian homes and other structures were demolished in the remainder of the occupied West Bank by Israel.

Several United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolutions 252 and 446 explicitly condemn Israel's illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, expropriation of Palestinian land and properties and its settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

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