East Jerusalem Demolition for New Jewish Settlments

A building demolition in East Jerusalem has provoked international condemnation including statements by Secretary of State Clinton, and leaders of the UN, EU, and UK, due to plans to build a new Jewish settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The settlement will become one more link in a chain of Jewish enclaves encircling the Old City of Jerusalem, effectively cutting it off from the rest of Palestinian East Jerusalem and the West Bank. A few key facts in this particular case:

The hotel was declared “absentee property” by Israel after it captured and annexed East Jerusalem. The title was transferred to an Israeli firm, which sold it in 1985 to Irving Moskowitz, a Florida bingo king and patron of Jewish settlers. (Haaretz)

The vast majority of land on which Jerusalem is built, including the settlements in the city’s occupied eastern sector, is state land, and the property built on it can be purchased by anyone who is an Israeli citizen, or who is Jewish. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, very few of whom have Israeli citizenship, must first obtain a special permit to purchase land or property there, with rights groups saying such permission is virtually unheard of. (Ma’an)

Nearly 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this. (BBC)

This was the first building demolition that I was able to witness and photograph. Here are some key shots of the demolition and protests by Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists:

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