Israeli occupation forces demolish Palestinian home, structures in Silwan

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli bulldozers on Wednesday demolished structures in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, witnesses told Ma’an.

The sources said Israeli forces entered the al-Abbasiyya area of Silwan and forced local resident Khalid al-Zeir to evacuate his property, saying the structures were built without a permit.

They then proceeded to demolish the small home in which al-Zeir lived in addition to steel structures that housed his sheep and horses.

Israeli forces then took him and another member of his family, Fahmi al-Zeir, into custody, the witnesses said.

They added that during the demolition, Israeli officers used police dogs to scare the family.

An Israeli police spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment.

In 2013, Israeli forces demolished another structure where al-Zeir had been living on the same piece of land.

Locals told Ma’an that for a time after that, al-Zeir lived in a small cave on land slated for Israeli confiscation, before building the structure that was demolished on Wednesday.

Tensions have risen in the Silwan neighborhood in recent weeks. Ten apartments were taken over by Jewish settlers in the neighborhood in the middle of the night on Oct. 20. Three weeks before, Israeli settlers took over 25 apartments in the area after secretly purchasing them.

The takeovers have been condemned by the international community, including the US.

Israel rarely grants construction permits to Palestinians in the West Bank, and regularly demolishes structures built without permits.

Israeli bulldozers have demolished at least 359 Palestinian structures in the West Bank so far in 2014, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

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