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By MaanImages/Rami Illariya
Photo by By MaanImages/Rami Illariya

Israel demolishes blind man's home in Jerusalem-area village

Originally published by Ma’an News Agency – Wednesday, March 12, 2014

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli bulldozers early Wednesday demolished a residential building, a car wash, and a shop in an East Jerusalem village, a popular committee spokesman said.

Hani Halabiyya, a spokesman for East Jerusalem’s popular resistance committees, told Ma’an that a large number of Israeli troops and military vehicles raided the Jabal al-Baba area of al-Eizariya village early Wednesday.

Bulldozers then proceeded to demolish a house owned by Suleiman Jahalin, a blind man who says he has been living in the Jabal al-Baba area since 1967.

Before starting the demolition, Israeli troops forcefully removed Jahalin and ten of his family members from their home, he told Ma’an.

After the 65-square-meter house was demolished, Jahalin expressed his intention to remain in the village.

“The last thing I saw before I became blind was the land of al-Eizariya,” Jahalin said. “I will never leave this land.”

He said he had recently received a demolition warrant from Israeli authorities.

Meanwhile, Israeli bulldozers demolished a car wash and a grocery shop near the entrance of the neighborhood. The two structures were built on one dunam (1,000 square meters) of land owned by Sami Abu Ghaliya.

Abu Ghaliya told Ma’an he was surprised to see Israeli forces surrounding the structures early Wednesday.

They demolished the car wash and the shop without prior notice, he said.

The same structures were demolished by the Israeli Civil Administration about a month ago, and Abu Ghaliya says he rebuilt them shortly after the demolition.

Halabiyya said 40 Bedouin families could be displaced from Jabal al-Baba in the coming days, as all the families there had been issued demolition warrants.

Additionally, he said, all the homes built in Jabal al-Baba — which sits around 1,000 dunams (250 acres) of land — are slated for demolition.

About 350 people living in steel structures and tents in the area could find themselves homeless, Halabiyya said.

‘Demolishing possibilities for peace’

Angela Godfrey Goldstein, an advocacy officer of the Jahalin Association representing Palestinian Bedouin, condemned the demolitions.

“As an Israeli I’m horrified that my country is demolishing possibilities for peace by displacing people continuously,” Godfrey Goldstein said.

“This home was on E1,” she said. “One of Obama’s red lines.”

She added that with peace talks ongoing, “this is hardly conducive to trust-building and reveals Israel’s true colors.”

E1 is an area northeast of Jerusalem and west of the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim. Israeli plans for settlement construction in the area have been strongly opposed by the international community, including the US.

Critics say Israeli settlement construction in E1 would divide the West Bank in two and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — virtually impossible.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.


Photo by MaanImages/Rami Illariya

Article Link: http://maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=680845

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