Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

Saudi Arabia decries Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes

The demolitions of Palestinian homes, most of which were still under construction, drew condemnation from the European Union and UN officials

This picture taken from the West Bank on July 22, 2019 shows Israeli security forces tearing down one of the Palestinian buildings still under construction in the Wadi Al Hummus area adjacent to the Palestinian village of Sur Baher in occupied East Jerusalem. AFP
This picture taken from the West Bank on July 22, 2019 shows Israeli security forces tearing down one of the Palestinian buildings still under construction in the Wadi Al Hummus area adjacent to the Palestinian village of Sur Baher in occupied East Jerusalem. AFP

Saudi Arabia has condemned Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes near the separation barrier in Jerusalem, calling on the international community to "stop this aggression".

"The cabinet strongly condemned and denounced authorities of the Israeli occupation for the demolition of dozens of houses in... east Jerusalem," said a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

"It called on the international community to intervene to stop this aggression and dangerous escalation that targets Palestinians."

Israel demolished 12 Palestinian buildings - including several multi-storey structures - that it considered illegal in a controversial operation on Monday.

The United Nations assessed at least 24 people - including 14 children - were displaced.

Palestinians accuse Israel of using security as a pretext to force them out of the area as part of long-term efforts to expand Jewish settlements and roads linking them.

They also point out that most of the buildings are located in areas meant to be under Palestinian Authority civilian control under to the Oslo Accords of the 1990s.

"What is painfully happening here is the biggest and most dangerous demolition operation outside of war operations," Walid Assaf, the Palestinian minister in charge of monitoring Israeli settlements, said in a video from the site.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on the "international community to intervene immediately to stop this aggression against our people".

The demolitions have raised fears that Israel will begin to demolish other residences near the separation barrier, which Palestinians view as an "apartheid wall" and a symbol of the Israeli occupation.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

It began construction of the separation barrier during the bloody second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Updated: July 23, 2019 07:14 PM

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