Palestinians in Village Near Jerusalem Block Home Demolition

Residents of al-Walaja say demolition orders on the rise, accuse Israel police of collective punishment in East Jerusalem

Residents of a Palestinian village near Jerusalem on Thursday prevented the demolition by Israeli authorities of an illegally built home. The residents, who gathered around the house and blocked the heavy machinery, say the village has seen a rise in demolition orders against it.
Al-Walaja, located southwest of Jerusalem, partly lies within Jerusalem’s borders and partly in the West Bank, under Palestinian jurisdiction.
In the past year, a Jerusalem district planning panel issued demolition orders to 30 buildings in the village. Seven of them had been demolished, 14 are pending demolition after a district court had rejected petitions to prevent the demolitions, and the remaining orders are still at different stages of legal proceedings.
Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher with Ir Amim, a nonprofit that advocates for “a more equitable and sustainable” Jerusalem, estimates that the homes of half of the 100 families living in the part of the village under Jerusalem’s jurisdiction are under threat of being demolished. In addition, Israel recently completed the construction of the security barrier, which surrounds the village on three sides, and separates it from many of its lands.
Palestinian residents of Jerusalem protest an increase in enforcement in the eastern part of the city, saying it was discriminatory and accuse authorities of collective punishment.
Meanwhile, on Friday an evacuation order against a Palestinian family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah will come into effect. A demonstration is slated to take place there Friday afternoon. Diplomats and senior Palestinian officials visited the family this week.
In Silwan, some roads were closed off for vehicles after firebombs were thrown in the area. In the area of the Old City, the municipality has started giving parking tickets in areas where it previously hadn’t. On Wednesday, two buildings were demolished in Jabal Mukkaber, and another in Beit Hanina.
“This pressure will only cause an explosion,” Daoud Siam, an East Jerusalem resident, says. “People are under enormous pressure, there’s no carrot, just stick.”
Police said in response that “an attempt to label law enforcement activities that are intended to maintain public order, the rule of law and the security of the citizens of Israel as ‘collective punishment’ is baseless and detached from reality.
“Recently, and especially since the terror incident on the Temple Mount, which killed two border policemen, police have faced dozens of riots and violent disturbances in East Jerusalem villages. During this period, there were 65 incidents in which firebombs were thrown at police and civilians and 273 incidents of stone-throwing in almost 100 sites.”
Police said it was taking measures to “restore order,” including carrying out “arrests of key rioters under arrest warrants issued by the court.”

Nir Hasson

Haaretz Correspondent

read more:…/palestinians/.premium-1.806236

Palestinians in Village Near Jerusalem Block Home Demolition

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

Boycott Israeli diamond