Israel demolishes structures in East J’lem refugee camp

JERUSALEM (AA) – The Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished dozens of Palestinian structures in occupied East Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp.

According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent based in the area, Israel’s Jerusalem municipality ordered the demolition of 20 shops in the camp on the pretext that they had been built without permits.

On Tuesday, the Israeli authorities reportedly informed shop-owners that their properties would be demolished.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s department for refugees affairs has condemned the demolitions, accusing the Jerusalem municipality of “waging war” on the camp and its inhabitants.

Department head Ahmad Abu Holi accused the municipality of trying to change the character of the camp with a view to ending the presence there of the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the services it provides.

“The municipality is trying to bring Shuafat under the city’s jurisdiction, where it will be subject to municipal laws and no longer be under the UNRWA’s supervision,” he said.

The Shuafat refugee camp is home to some 21,000 Palestinian residents who carry Israeli identity cards for Jerusalem.

Last month, the municipality announced plans to expel UNRWA from occupied East Jerusalem.

The municipality accused the refugee agency of operating illegally and promoting “incitement” against Israel.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.