JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Civil Administration bulldozers demolished two steel structures and a store in the neighborhood of Sur Bahir village in southeastern Jerusalem on Tuesday, allegedly because they were built too close to the Israeli separation wall.Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces escorted by Civil Administration crews raided the Wadi al-Hummus area of Sur Bahir and demolished structures despite them being officially under Palestinian local jurisdiction.Muhammad Abu Tair said that Israeli bulldozers demolished two of his steel structures and confiscated tools and floor tiles. Abu Tair that the first structure was the foundations for a 150-square-meter home, but that he had stopped construction a year ago following a decision by the Israeli Civil Administration. The other structure, he said was 50-square-meters and used for storage.Israeli bulldozers also reportedly demolished a store in the area, which had been built four years earlier, and confiscated material from inside the store.The majority of Sur Bahir is located within the Jerusalem municipality, as the Israeli government expropriated it as state land in 1970. However, a small portion of the towns’ area is located in the Bethlehem district of the occupied West Bank, and further portion of the village lies beyond the Israeli segregation wall.
A spokesperson for the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem confirmed to Ma'an that they were not involved in the demolition, while a spokesperson for COGAT, which overseas the Israeli Civil Administration and is responsible for enforcing Israeli policies in the occupied territory did, not immediately respond to a request for comment.However last month, the Jerusalem's municipality was responsible for the demolition of the foundation of a mosque last month, amid a spate of demolitions that day across the occupied Palestinian territory.
Demolitions of Palestinian structures and homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge this year, with the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 well exceeding the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.
More than 1,569 Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of 2016 as a result of demolitions in the occupied territory, compared to 688 Palestinians displaced over the entirety of 2015, according to UN documentation.