JERUSALEM Ma’an News (August 20) – An Israeli court has ruled to demolish a football field and its facilities in occupied East Jerusalem, a local committee said Thursday.
The owners of the property, located in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, received a demolition order in the mail over 70 days after the court had passed the ruling at the beginning of June, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said.
The “demolition and removal” order had allowed for an appeal to be lodged within 30 days of the ruling.
The ruling includes the demolition of a 1.5 dunam sports field as well as a neighboring warehouse and animal shed.
Silwan committee member Ahmad Qaraeen said the ruling required that anyone who chose to object to the order would be fined and forced to pay demolition and removal fees.
He added that Israeli authorities are aware that the owners of the land – the heirs to Atallah Siyam – regularly allowed the area to be used by Mada Creative centre for activities.
Qareen said that the Israeli municipality attempted to confiscate the land in 2007 and turn it into a parking lot, but that the move was appealed in court and the land owners built a football field on the property in 2009 after receiving approval from the central court.
In 2012, the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority demolished several of the family’s facilities under the pretense of “removing trash,” he added.
Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of the demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of Palestinian families.
Israeli authorities have carried out around 370 demolitions of Palestinian property in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, displacing an estimated 432 residents, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Thousands of Palestinian residents are at risk of losing their homes, as members of the current right-wing Israeli government continue to champion longstanding policies to obtain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community, and four decades of Israeli policy in the area have neglected the Palestinian community while fostering the growth of Jewish settlement.