Riots break out as Israeli police demolish homes in Palestinian village

Two municipal workers, several Palestinians reported injured in clashes in al-Walaja, straddling East Jerusalem and West Bank

Israeli forces evacuated and demolished four homes in a Palestinian village partially inside East Jerusalem on Monday, and clashed with locals who tried to stop the operation.

Two Jerusalem municipal employees and several Palestinian residents were injured in the fighting in al-Walaja, south of Jerusalem.

Police said the clashes broke out as they attempted to remove some residents who barricaded themselves in one of the homes. Israeli forces responded to Palestinian rioters with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Two municipal employees were lightly injured by rocks thrown at them by residents, according to police.

One woman, in her 50s, who sustained wounds to her face, was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment, the hospital said.

The second employee was treated at the scene.

Palestinians said several people were injured in the confrontations.

“A court order is being implemented with a house demolition,” police said. “Border police units are continuing to deal with the disturbances there by local Palestinians.”

According to Haaretz some 40 people lived in the homes that were destroyed.

The state is seeking to demolish dozens more, in which around 800 people live, a representative of the Ir Amim rights group said.

“They want to erase the village,” lawyer Eitan Peleg, who represents locals in Israeli courts, told the newspaper.

Al-Walaja borders the Green Line. It is partly under Israeli jurisdiction within the East Jerusalem area, and partly under the Palestinian Bethlehem Governorate. It is situated near several Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

According to Channel 10 news, the Jerusalem Municipality seeks to convert some of the state-owned lands into a national park and to assert greater control over the territory.

In recent years the village has been largely surrounded by Israel’s security barrier, with villagers cut off from much of their farmland.

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