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ISM Update: Homes Demolished In Jerusalem Suburb

ISM Update: Homes Demolished In Jerusalem Suburb

The house of Rami Dabash, his wife and two children was demolished today in the Jerusalem suburb of Tsur Baher by the Israeli Defense forces.

About 125 border police, some mounted on horses, arrived at the house this morning, accompanying a bulldozer. The police formed a cordon at the bottom of the street to prevent journalists and human rights activists from seeing the destruction.

The police refused to produce a military order declaring the area a closed zone and used force to push journalists and activists back away from the demolition site.

Police then pushed members of the Dabash family while they were giving interviews, including Rami's 68 year old mother who has just been discharged from hospital after spinal disc surgery.

The Dabash house was not yet fully constructed. The family had started building it in October 2003 after receiving the necessary permissions from the Israeli authorities. They spent $35 000 US on building the house before construction was stopped by the authorities. They were then informed that the house would be demolished. The family then spent a further $12 000 on legal fees in an attempt to challenge the demolition with no success.

The family were not notified in advance as to when the demolition would take place. Rami Dabash's sister, Jalila, said that she had arrived from Beit Hanina to visit her elderly mother this morning when suddenly the bulldozer arrived.

Since 1967, Israeli policy has been geared to create a "Greater" Jerusalem which controls the entire central portion of the West Bank and cuts the physical and economic heart out of a potential Palestinian state.

While constructing 90,000 housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem, the municipality has intentionally created a shortage of 25,000 housing units for Palestinians.

Since occupying the west bank and Gaza strip, Israel has demolished over 12,000 Palestinian homes, leaving some 70,000 without shelter and traumatized.

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