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