Is­rael bull­dozes six Pales­tinian build­ings in east­ern Jerusalem

Austin American-Statesman - - WEDNESDAYBRIEFING -

JERUSALEM — Is­raeli bull­doz­ers de­stroyed six build­ings in con­tested east­ern Jerusalem on Tues­day, re­sum­ing the de­mo­li­tion of Pales­tinian prop­erty af­ter a halt aimed at en­cour­ag­ing peace talks.

Jerusalem de­mo­li­tions are a volatile is­sue be­cause of con­flict­ing Is­raeli and Pales­tinian claims to the city’s east­ern sec­tor. Is­rael sees it as part of its cap­i­tal city, but Pales­tini­ans want it for their own fu­ture cap­i­tal.

Is­raeli of­fi­cials said none of the struc­tures razed were homes, and that all had been il­le­gally built and weren’t in­hab­ited.

But Pales­tini­ans dis­puted those claims, say­ing three of the de­mol­ished struc­tures were homes. Two daybeds and bags crammed with chil­dren’s cloth­ing and kitchen uten­sils were strewn out­side one of the build­ings.

Basem Isawi, 48, an un­em­ployed con­trac­tor, stood stone-faced amid the rub­ble of his un­fin­ished home. “We watched them de­stroy the house, and we couldn’t do any­thing,” Isawi said.

Gaza naval block­ade

Also on Tues­day, a Libyan ship car­ry­ing sup­plies for Gaza was sail­ing to­ward Egypt in­stead of try­ing to run a naval block­ade of the Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory, Is­raeli mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said, ap­par­ently de­fus­ing a po­ten­tial con­fronta­tion on the high seas.

Af­ter Is­rael’s navy con­fronted the Libyan ship, the Amalthea, its cap­tain told the Is­raelis that he would head for the Egyp­tian port of el-Ar­ish.

Nonethe­less, Is­raeli naval ves­sels kept shad­ow­ing the Amalthea, be­cause a last-minute course change could eas­ily point the ship to­ward Gaza, which isn’t far from el-Ar­ish.

The ship also halted a few times late Tues­day, re­port­ing en­gine trou­ble.

Olivier Fitoussi As­so­ci­Ated Press

Six build­ings in the east­ern Jerusalem neigh­bor­hood of Beit Han­ina were razed by Is­raeli bull­doz­ers Tues­day. Pales­tini­ans said at least three were homes.

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