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Middle East
Israel 'evicts Jerusalem families'
More than 1,500 people reportedly told their houses are to be demolished.
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2009 21:54 GMT
More than 1,500 people could be left homeless
by the threatened demolitions [AFP]

More than 1,500 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem could be made homeless after Israel told them their homes are illegal and are to be demolished.

"The owners of 80 houses in the al-Bustan neighbourhood have received eviction notices saying that the structures will be destroyed because they are illegal," Hatem Abdel Kader, an official responsible for Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian government, said.

Kader said that several of the houses served with demolition orders had been built before the 1967 war, when Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan, but that numerous extensions have been built since.

"The [Jerusalem] municipality used this as a pretext to issue the demolition orders despite appeals by the residents," he said.

No comment was immediately available from the city authorities.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital and has annexed the Arab east of the city, but under international law east Jerusalem is considered to be occupied and has not been recognised by world powers as the Israeli capital.

According to B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights organisation, Israeli authorities have demolished about 350 houses in east Jerusalem since 2004, saying that they were built without permits.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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