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Tuesday Nov. 23, 2010 11:09 AM (EST+7)

JERUSALEM, Nov 22 (JMCC) - Tens of families were ordered to evacuate their homes this week in preparation for the buildings' demolition.

In Ras Khamis, residents of two buildings were ordered to leave under the pretext that their homes were built without a license. The houses sit in close proximity to the military checkpoint at the entrance to the neighborhood, as well as the Wall Israel has constructed between the neighborhood and Pisgat Zeev settlement.

City workers and police placed red xs on the walls of the buildings, seeming to mark them for destruction. Eleven families will be effected.

Shufat, where the Ras Khamis neighborhood is located in Jerusalem, is home to some 30,000 people. In 1998, 20 houses were demolished in the area in one day. Still those Palestinians allowed to live and work in Jerusalem crowd into the area, seeking to hold on to their residency in the city.

Another nine families in al-Ashraqiya neighborhood in Jerusalem were ordered to leave, officials saying that their homes are actually under Jewish ownership.

Mahmoud Shenk and his brother received an eviction order to go into effect unless they purchase the land from the owner for $1,000 per square meter. Shenk says that he and his brother bought the land in 1997 and were never advised that the property had another owner.

Sandwiched between two settlements, nearly all of the homes built in al-Ashraqiya were constructed without an Israeli building license due to heavy building restrictions imposed by Israeli municipal authorities.

Lawyer Ahmed al-Robi estimates that some 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem have been ordered demolished by Israeli courts, ostensibly for building without a license. Were all these homes to be destroyed, some 100,000 people would be homeless.






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