Israeli forces demolish East Jerusalem home as hate crime targets Palestinian cars
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers (unseen) on the outskirts of Jalazun refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. [AFP]
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Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem on Monday, the owner told Ma’an news agency, as Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 16 cars and a bus in another neighborhood, local residents said.
Israeli military and police officers blockaded the al-Jisr neighborhood early Monday to allow bulldozers to move in and destroy the apartment building, owner Mohammed Hasan Mousa Jaafira said.
The building was constructed 18 years ago. Jaafira said he has been "trying in vain" to obtain a construction license from Israel's Jerusalem municipality.
The demolition took place without any prior warning, although in the past Jaafira had been forced to pay a fine of $8,516 for unlicensed construction.
Israel destroyed more than 663 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2013, displacing 1,101 people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories which includes the West Bank and East Jerusalem ,have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
Meanwhile, East Jerusalem resident Samir Shaloudi told Ma'an that dozens of private vehicles and a bus were found vandalized early on Monday.
Hebrew graffiti sprayed on the bus read: "Enough of assimilation" and "Arab labor = assimilation."
Residents called the Israeli police, who arrived on the scene and opened an investigation.
Mohammed Qarain, who works for the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center, said he suspected that a group of settlers came from a nearby illegal outpost were behind the price tag attack.
"Price tag" is the euphemism for hate crimes that generally target Palestinians.
Initially carried out against Palestinians as a response to Palestinian lawsuits filed against Israel to reclaim West Bank land on which settlers have built illegal outposts, the attacks have become a much broader phenomenon targeting anyone seen as hostile to the settlers.
Settler attacks against Palestinians and their property are routine in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In 2012, there were 353 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to OCHA.
Over 90 percent of investigations into settler violence by Israeli police fail to lead to an indictment.