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Israel Ramps Up Demolition Of Palestinian Homes

Israel has intensified its demolition push in East Jerusalem to support development of a "Greater Jerusalem," reports Dalia Hatuqa.
Dina (R), a nine-year-old Palestinian girl, cries as her father Saleh Kostero puts his arms around her and her cousin Halla (L) during the demolition of their house in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina February 5, 2013. A statement from the Jerusalem Municipality said there was a court order for the demolition of the house, which was built without a permit in an open landscape area where construction is forbidden. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS CONSTRUCTIO

As Israel’s aggressive plan to place settlers in and around East Jerusalem pushes forward, Palestinian residents are finding their communities quickly being eroded by bureaucratic policies. Home demolitions and evictions carried out by Israeli authorities are some of the most common methods that displace Palestinians. In addition to these measures, settler enclaves are being forced into the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods — such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, At-Tur (Mount of Olives) and others that comprise what’s known as the "Holy Basin" — isolating them from one another and from the rest of the West Bank. Today, these neighborhoods are unable to expand or grow in a way that ensures contiguity and Palestinians living there are forced to build “illegally” because construction permits are rarely granted.

“Since 1967, no new Palestinian neighborhoods have been established; the urban master plan restricts Palestinian building to 13% of the city, much of which is already covered with chaotic, unregulated sprawl. This is despite the quadrupling of the Palestinian population, which today constitutes 36% of Jerusalem's population,” according to Robert Blecher, director of the Israel-Palestine Project at International Crisis Group.

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