Violent clashes erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli troops Nov. 18 as military forces razed two houses in al-Bustan neighborhood of East Jerusalem’s Silwan district. The demolitions were the second and third of the day. Seven Palestinians were injured and dozens of others assaulted as Israeli troops fired tear gas at the growing crowd that gathered to confront the continued program of home demolitions in the neighborhood. Crowds gathered as Israeli bulldozers wrecked the homes, and protests began as the equipment moved on to the second building.
The destroyed buildings belonged to local residents Khaled Ar-Ruweidi and Muhammad Awwad. They housed 18 people, now all homeless as a result of the demolitions. A garage that was also demolished was the property of Iyad Siyam. Earlier that day, Israeli bulldozers demolished a two-family Palestinian home in al-Isawiya, East Jerusalem. On Nov. 17, a four-family home owned by the Husseini family was bulldozed, its 30 residents rendered homeless. (Ma’an news Agency, Nov. 18)
The unrest comes as the Israeli government announced approval of 900 new homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, one of a dozen in the occupied eastern part of the city where new settlements are under consideration. In a reaction that sparked media outrage in Israel, President Obama told Fox News: “I think additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel’s security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous.” (Fox News, Nov. 18; AFP, Nov. 17)