300 Palestinian homes demolished in Jerusalem in 2019: Palestinian official

Jerusalem/PNN/

Israeli authorities demolished at least 300 Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem in 2019, a Palestinian official says.

Walid Assaf, the head of the National Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements, said in a press conference on Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian territories that out of 686 demolition operations in 2019, 300 were carried out in Jerusalem al-Quds.

He also explained that Israeli authorities are seeking to divide Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque by demolishing Palestinian homes and intensifying the settlement construction activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Assaf further referred to the largest demolition campaign in Sur Bahir on the southeastern outskirts of occupied East Jerusalem when 82 Palestinian homes were demolished at once, saying the Israeli demolition policy has changed from demolishing homes to erasing entire communities.

In July 22, 2019, hundreds of Israeli soldiers and police stormed Sur Bahir and declared the village a military zone, banning journalists from entering.

Israeli forces began destroying Palestinians homes despite international condemnation and mass protests.

The United Nations, which recognizes Jerusalem as occupied territory, urged Israel to halt the demolitions.

Assaf further said Palestinians and the Popular Resistance Committees have managed to stop the demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar by staging a six-month sit-in in 2019.

The Bedouin village, home to 180 Palestinians, is situated east of the occupied holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds between two Israeli settlements.

Israel claims Khan al-Ahmar was built without the required permits, but Palestinians say such documents are impossible to obtain.

The United Nations has urged Israel not to demolish the village, adding that the planned move violates international law.

Israel has been occupying the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967. Ever since, it has been building settlements throughout the land, in a move condemned by the UN and considered illegal under international law.

International bodies and rights groups say Israeli demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are an attempt to uproot Palestinians from their native territory and confiscate more land for the expansion of illegal settlements.

About 600,000 Israelis settlers live in over 230 illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem