Municipality demolishes two East Jerusalem buildings
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Municipality demolishes two East Jerusalem buildings

City hall says illegal structures were uninhabited, but residents contend 10 people lived in one of them

File: Bulldozers of the Jerusalem municipality destroy a Palestinian house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Tur on March 26, 2014, on the grounds that it was built without a construction permit. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90/File)
File: Bulldozers of the Jerusalem municipality destroy a Palestinian house in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Tur on March 26, 2014, on the grounds that it was built without a construction permit. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90/File)

The Jerusalem Municipality said it carried out the demolition of two “illegal” buildings in East Jerusalem, a week after the mayor instructed police to increase enforcement of building code violations amid flaring tensions.

Residents of the Abu Tor neighborhood where the structures were located said that about 10 people lived in at least one of the buildings, according to Israel Radio.

The city said in a statement that it “enforces building code violations throughout the city” and contended that the buildings were “unoccupied and unfinished” structures “built without permits in public spaces where construction is prohibited.”

Incidents of sporadic stone-throwing continued Monday amid a spurt in violence that has roiled the capital in recent months. Officials have vowed to crack down on incidents of stone throwing and other attacks, deploying extra police to flashpoint neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

Last Tuesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat instructed law enforcement officials to increase enforcement against illegal buildings in East Jerusalem. Other proposals for punitive punishment against rioters included confiscating livestock, closing unlicensed businesses and issuing more parking tickets for offenses not currently enforced.

Some officials protested that the measures would further alienate the Palestinian population and fan the flames, according to Israel daily Haaretz.

Barkat spokesperson Brachie Sprung said last week that taking action against illegal building has consistently been a directive of the mayor’s and that increased enforcement of the policy was a result of having a larger police presence in East Jerusalem to combat recent rioting.

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