SUR BAHER, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli forces began preparations to demolish homes near a military barrier on the outskirts of Jerusalem under the cover of darkness on Monday, in the face of Palestinian protests and international criticism.
Bulldozers accompanied by hundreds of Israeli soldiers and police moved in to Sur Baher, a Palestinian village on the edge of East Jerusalem in an area that Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East War.
Palestinians - Razing - Village - Buildings - Fence
Palestinians fear that the razing of village buildings near the fence will set a precedent for other towns along the route of the barrier, which runs for hundreds of kilometers around and through the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The pending demolition is the latest round of protracted wrangling over the future of Jerusalem, home to more than 500,000 Israelis and 300,000 Palestinians, and sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Israel - Supreme - Court - June - Structures
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in June that the structures violated a construction ban. The deadline for residents to remove the buildings expired on Friday.
However, some residents said they would be made homeless. Owners said they had obtained permission to build from the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Forces - Wire - Fence - Village - Monday
Israeli forces cut through the wire fence near the village early on Monday, allowing them easier access to the buildings.
Floodlights lit up a partly constructed multi-storey building as dozens of vehicles brought helmeted police and soldiers into the area.
Palestinian - Israeli - Activists - Demolition
They were filmed and photographed by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists who had mobilized to try and stop the demolition.
“Since 2 a.m. they have been evacuating people from their homes by force and they have started planting explosives in the homes they want to destroy. There are hundreds of soldiers here,” said Hamada Hamada, a community leader in one of the threatened areas.
Village - Sur - Baher
The sprawling village of Sur Baher straddles the...
Wake Up To Breaking News!