Israel to destroy 20,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem

Published February 15th, 2015 - 05:42 GMT

Israel has shortlisted over 20,000 Palestinian homes for demolition in East Jerusalem al-Quds, reports the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER).

The reason behind the move is that they were built without Israeli construction licenses, the center's head, Ziad Hamouri, said on Saturday.  

Hamouri went on to say that Israel uses the licenses, which are rarely approved, as an excuse to remove Palestinians from the occupied city.

Even if the licenses are approved, he said, they take five to eight years to be issued and cost from $30,000 t0 $50,000 each.   

"The Israeli demands for a construction license are punitive financially and procedurally," Hamouri noted, adding such regulations do not apply to the Israeli settlers living in the city.

On February 9, Israeli media reported that Tel Aviv had seized about four square-kilometers of Palestinian land near the settlements of Kedumim, Vered Yericho, Neveh Tzuf, and Emanuel.    

According to reports, Israel has made preparations to construct 18 residential projects in these areas, with more than 99 percent of the occupied land being allocated to settlements.

Israel is facing widespread global condemnation over its settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian lands.

The EU has often criticized Israel for building thousands of settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle in the way of efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. 

Upwards of half a million Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East al-Quds, in 1967. 

The Israeli settlements are considered to be illegal by the United Nations and most countries because the territories were captured by Israel in the war in 1967 and are thus subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands. 

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