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Palestinians condemn demolition of East Jerusalem shops Israel says were illegal

Palestinian officials condemn Israel’s demolition of 21 businesses and petrol stations which authorities said were built illegally in Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp.

Israeli police confirmed in a statement authorities had demolished “18 illegal businesses and three illegal petrol stations” in annexed East Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp, where an estimated 24,000 Palestinians live.

Israeli authorities entered the camp with excavators to destroy the structures as police formed a security perimeter, an AFP journalist reported.

“The municipality will continue to carry out activities with the support of the police against illegal business in the different areas,” the police statement said.

Ahmad Abu Holy, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s refugee department, condemns the demolitions that he said were “under the illegal pretext of building without a permit.”

He makes the comments to official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem and in parts of the West Bank say it’s nearly impossible for them to obtain the required building permits from Israeli authorities.

Khader Dibs, an official from the camp, which is surrounded by Israel’s separation wall and is the only refugee camp within Jerusalem, also condemns the demolitions and said the shops had been built in 2007.

Shop owners said they had been given only 12 hours’ advance notice.

Shuafat camp receives little from Jerusalem’s municipality. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, operates there and provides various services to residents.

— AFP

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