Israel to demolish 200 Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem

Smoke rises as Israeli forces begin to raze a building in the neighborhood of Wadi Homs in East Jerusalem (Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  June 1, 2020

Israeli occupation authorities yesterday delivered an order to demolish 200 decades-old Palestinian-owned industrial structures located in occupied East Jerusalem, reported Wafa news agency.

As with many neighbourhoods in the area surrounding Jerusalem, Wadi Al-Joz is experiencing severe challenges with the aggressive expansion of the Jewish presence in the area.

The chairman of East Jerusalem’s Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Obeidat, told Wafa that the order was made by recommendation of the Israeli Planning and Zoning Committee and will demolish up to 200 structures including car repair shops, restaurants and other facilities.

Obeidat called the move a “racist order” to destroy the only Palestinian industrial area that serves the city’s 300,000 residents in East Jerusalem in order to build Israeli structures.

A spokesperson for the Jerusalem Municipality confirmed to the Jerusalem Post that the buildings were being demolished as part of a “building project” but could not provide further details.

Palestinians believe such measures are part of Israel’s Judaisation of the city, which include emptying it of its Palestinian residents.

The demolitions come amid heightened tensions in the city after Israeli forces shot dead Eyad Hallaq, an unarmed Palestinian with mental disabilities, also from the Palestinian neighbourhood of Wadi Al-Joz, where the demolitions are set to occur.