Israeli occupation forces entered the Shu'fat refugee camp with bulldozers Wednesday. The besieged camp, surrounded by Israel's illegal "separation" barrier, is in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.
On Tuesday night Israeli forces delivered demolition notices to over 20 Palestinian shop owner, Thaer Fasfous, the spokesperson of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem said. The demolition notices gave Palestinians a 12 hours deadline to evacuate the premises. The shops were allegedly built without an Israeli permit, a common excuse used to demolish Palestinian structures throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Fasfous told Ma’an News Agency that the shops were built in 2007 and are a means of livelihood for many Palestinian families in the area.
Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents after the notices were delivered, leading to the firing of tear-gas and sound bomb by occupying forces.
According to Stephon Barbour, a source on the ground who spoke to teleSUR, Israeli bulldozers already arrived Wednesday and started demolishing 27 businesses. An anonymous Palestinian refugee living in Shu'fat told Barbour that the Israeli army had been patrolling the area for few weeks and taking notes. Suddenly, on Tuesday they handed out demolition notices.
Israeli forces are using the same justification, lack of building permits, to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, in the occupied West Bank.
According to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Israeli authorities demolished 780 houses in East Jerusalem between 2004 and 2018, leaving 2,766 Palestinians homeless. As a result, some Palestinians choose to leave Jerusalem.
Additionally, 132 non-residential structures including businesses, one mosque, and storerooms were demolished by Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem from between 2016 and Sept. 2018.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement published on Nov. 16, “since the start of 2018, OCHA has documented 217 incidents attributed to Israeli settlers that have resulted in Palestinian casualties (60 incidents) or in damage to Palestinian property (157 incidents).”
According to OCHA, “this is the highest level of incidents recorded since 2014 and represents a 57 and 175 percent increase compared with 2017 and 2016 respectively.”
Palestinian activists claim the ongoing destruction of Palestinian structures in occupied Palestine is a key element of a general policy of ethnic cleansing, pushing Palestinians from their territories while expanding Jewish-Israeli settlements.