Israel demolishes two Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
Israeli authorities demolished two Palestinian homes near Arab East Jerusalem on Tuesday, ignoring international concern about the practice, Reuters reported.
Israel's Jerusalem municipality said the houses were built without permits. Palestinians say such permission is impossible to obtain and accuse Israel of using demolitions to tighten its hold on occupied territory in and around Jerusalem.
"This is part of the Israeli plan to disrupt the demographic balance," Hatem Abdel-Qader, in charge of Jerusalem affairs in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.
Jerusalem is at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and the United States, seeking to revive peace talks, has called the demolition of Palestinian homes "unhelpful".
Other Western countries and human rights organisations have been more outspoken in their condemnation of Israel's demolition policy.
Israeli paramilitary border police troops deployed to secure the razing of the two homes by bulldozers. One of the houses was in Shuafat and the other in Sur Baher, Palestinian communities on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
"International bodies and the United Nations Security Council should intervene to stop Israeli authorities from carrying out these criminal actions," said Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian-appointed governor of Jerusalem.
Earlier this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for a halt to home demolitions in East Jerusalem.
Statistics in a U.N. report published in May showed that 1,500 demolition orders issued by the Jerusalem municipality were pending for Palestinian dwellings built without permits.
The report said that if the orders were implemented, about 9,000 Palestinians would be displaced.