Israeli court orders demolition of East Jerusalem mosque

Israeli court orders demolition of East Jerusalem mosque
Silwan residents have been given 21 days to challenge a demolition order issued against Qaqaa Bin Amr mosque, as Israel ramps up its campaign of razing East Jerusalem's Palestinian buildings.
2 min read
15 September, 2020
The Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan lies next to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem [Getty]
An Israeli court has issued a demolition notice for a mosque in East Jerusalem, claiming it lacks a construction permit, Palestinian media reported on Monday.

Residents of Silwan have been given 21 days to challenge the order issued against the Qaqaa Bin Amr mosque.

The two-storey mosque in the East Jerusalem town was built in 2012 and can house hundreds of worshippers.

Gaza's Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs condemned the demolition order and warned Israel against acting on it. 

It also called on the international community, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to conserve Muslim places of worship and holy sites in Jerusalem.

The news comes as Israeli authorities step up their campaign of demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territories, with Silwan and East Jerusalem a particular hotspot for evictions of Palestinian residents and expansion of Israeli settlements.

The razing of Palestinian homes has been at a four-year high between March and August 2020 in spite of coronavirus restrictions and health risks, the UN said last week.

"The period from March to August 2020 saw the demolition or confiscation of 389 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, on average, 65 per month, the highest average destruction rate in four years," the UN humanitarian affairs office (UNOCHA) said.

Read also: As Arab countries edge towards Israel, what's next for the Palestinian national movement?

"Sadly, demolitions during the period March-August 2020 left 442 Palestinians homeless, further exposing many to risks associated with the pandemic."

The Israeli authorities routinely raze homes built by Palestinians on their own lands in annexed east Jerusalem or the occupied West Bank if they lack Israeli construction permits.

However, these permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, which they say is fuelling an acute housing crisis.

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