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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rights Group Demands End to East Jerusalem Home Demolitions

10/03/2009 | AlmanarTV
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) on Monday turned once again to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and demanded that the demolition of homes in the eastern part of the occupied city cease immediately.

The group tied the demolitions to Thursday's attack in occupied Jerusalem, during which a tractor driven by a resident of the Beit Hanina neighborhood plowed into an Israeli police squad car on Menachem Begin Boulevard. The driver was apparently also trying to hit a nearby bus, but missed.

Two occupation police officers were in the car when it was hit and both sustained mild injuries. Other police officers patrolling nearby shot the Palestinian man, who later died of his wounds.

In its appeal, ACRI said that several years ago the occupation army determined that the home demolitions were ineffective in deterring would-be “terrorists” and may even encourage more attacks.

In a similar petition filed Thursday, ACRI Attorney Nasrat Dakwar contended that since Barkat's election there has been significant rise in home demolitions in occupied east Jerusalem, adding that residents are given only 72 hours notice before their houses are demolished.

ACRI spokeswoman Nirit Moskovitz told Ynet that "as it is the residents of east Jerusalem live under terrible conditions, and the demolitions only add to their despair. About 60% of this population lives below the poverty line. We have seen a clear trend for the past 40 years, whereby (the State) is apparently trying to make life difficult for the residents of east Jerusalem in the hope that they'll eventually leave for the West Bank," she said. "The current situation does not allow for any legal construction in east Jerusalem."

According to Moskovitz, "For many years Jerusalem was characterized by a lack of law enforcement, sometimes to the point of institutionalized criminality. The phenomenon of construction violations exists in all parts of the city, east and west."

Eighty-eight demolition orders were issued for homes in occupied east Jerusalem on the eve of Hillary Clinton's recent visit to the Zionist entity. During her meeting with Barkat, the US secretary of state raised the issue and heard from the mayor that the orders would not be implemented. However, while in Ramallah, Clinton received word that the demolition plans would in fact be carried out. A surprised Clinton called the move unproductive.

The Wall Street Journal dubbed the affair the first crisis between Israel and the Obama administration, and claimed it was proof that Israel's policy was being determined by civil servants.


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