Editor’s Note: The events described below are part of a consistent pattern by the Israeli government to make life unbearable for the Palestinian people living inside Israel. We receive these kinds of reports every week, and rarely put them up on our website, and are only putting this story on the website to remind our readers that this is happening over and over and over again as the Occupation continues. Those who wonder why random Palestinians living inside Israel sometimes resort to violence (actions we condemn) need only place themselves in the position of those who see or personally experience this kind of violence on behalf of an Israel that shames the Jewish people and desecrates our Torah by calling itself “the Jewish state.”–Rabbi Michael Lerner
Occupation forces demolish Palestinian homes in Jerusalem for two consecutive days
Published July 21st, 2016 – 05:00 GMT
Bulldozers escorted by Israeli policeand Jerusalem municipality inspectors demolished on Wednesday several Palestinian structures located adjacent to the Atarot settlement industrial park north of Jerusalem, a day after structures were torn down in neighboring Beit Hanina, as well as in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
One of the owners of the structures, Kamal Abu Sneina, told Ma’an that Israeli forces and municipality inspectors deployed into the area and started to tear down his structures while the owners were not present.
“When we arrived, we were forced to stay away,” Abu Sneina said, adding that police officers detained him inside a police vehicle while the demolition was carried out.
The demolished properties, he said, were two tin shacks, four shipping containers used as stores and offices, in addition to a vehicle, a diesel tank, and two trucks.
Abu Sneina added that he was not given the opportunity to empty the structures and vehicles of his belongings before they were destroyed.
In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the Jerusalem Municipality said that “the Jerusalem Zoning Authority and the National Police Force enforced a court order by removing temporary structures illegally placed on public land in the Atarot area,” confirming that they were not located within the settlement area itself.
“No permits were requested for the structures, nor would such permits be granted as the land in question is not owned by the individual who owns the containers. The demolition order was the result of court procedures dating back to October 2015, which were launched as a result of the individual’s refusal to voluntarily vacate the public land.”
The Atarot industrial park is located within a narrow space carved out by Israel’s separation wall — cutting it off from the Qalandiya refugee camp and al-Ram just east beyond the wall in the central occupied West Bank — and is the Jerusalem Municipality’s largest industrial zone.
The park, expropriated into the Israeli-defined greater Jerusalem municipal area in the years following the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, is also neighbored by the Palestinian communities and industrial sites in the villages of Beit Hanina to the south and Bir Nabala to the west.
Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq said in June that it had “documented increased pressure by the Jerusalem municipality on residents and business owners in Beit Hanina located near the Israeli settlement of Atarot,” adding that locals linked the increase in inspections to a recently constructed Israeli supermarket nearby.
“Al-Haq is concerned that Palestinian residents and business owners in Beit Hanina and nearby areas will continue to be targeted by the Jerusalem Municipality as Atarot settlement develops,” the statement added.
The incident came as the latest in a series of demolition carried out by the Jerusalem Municipality on Palestinian structures in the area.
On Tuesday, a Palestinian home under construction in Beit Hanina was demolished for lacking the required Israeli-issued permits, within hours of structures being demolished in the Silwan neighborhood further south in East Jerusalem.
Last week, 43 Palestinians, including 25 children, were made homeless in less than 48 hours due to Israeli demolitions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir to the south and a Beduoin refugee community in Anata in the northern area of the city, according the UN.
Spokesperson for UNRWA Chris Gunness said in a statement that the July 12 and 13 demolitions included structures funded by an international NGO, while those displaced included a 48-year-old man suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a 48-year-old man with a physical disability rendering him unable to walk, an 85-year-old woman, and a woman seven months into her pregnancy.
“While condemning this disregard for international law, we would respectfully remind Israel, the occupying power, that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it has an obligation to respect family rights including the dwellings of the protected population — not destroy them,” Gunness wrote.
Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
Nearly 579 homes have been destroyed in the city over the last twelve years,leaving 2,218 Palestinians homeless in total, Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reported.
Torching of house in occupied West Bank draws UN official’s concern
20 July 2016 – The United Nations official coordinating the peace process toward resolving the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine today expressed concern about reports of yet another arson attack targeting a Palestinian family in Duma in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“If confirmed, this despicable act would be the third incident in this particular village in the last year,” said the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov.
On 31 July last year, Jewish extremists set fire to the home of a Palestinian family, killing 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha and his parents, and leaving four year-old Ahmed orphaned.
“Indictments have been made, but the perpetrators of this terrible crime have yet to face justice,” Mr. Mladenov said.
According to media reports, the latest attack is on a relative of the family attacked on 31 July.
The third attack refers to an incident in March, in which the house of Ibrahim Mohammed Dawabsha, the only living witness to the 31 July attack, was set alight.
Mr. Mladenov called on the authorities to move swiftly in bringing all the perpetrators to justice, including those responsible for the incident last night.
He also urged Israel, as the occupying power, to ensure that vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are protected in line with its obligations under international law.