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Abbas criticises Israel's wave of Fatah arrests as home demolitions in Jerusalem persist Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

Abbas criticises Israel's wave of Fatah arrests as home demolitions in Jerusalem persist

Israeli settlements in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 November, 2017

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The detentions of Fatah members happened as the settlement and demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure rages on with six new demolition orders in the occupied city of Jerusalem

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has condemned Israeli police after the detention of senior members of his Fatah movement in occupied East Jerusalem.

Several members of Fatah were detained on Monday and are set to be interrogated on Tuesday according to Mufeed al-Haj, a Palestinian Prisoner’s Society attorney.

He said the Fatah members include Hatem Abdul Qadder, Fatah official; Issam Khatib, director of the population census office; and Abdul Mutaleb Abu Sbeih, Arafat Mustafa, Musab Abbas and Aseel Hassouneh.

Shadi Mtour, secretary of Fatah’s East Jerusalem branch was also detained.

Abbas, whose presidency expired in 2009 said on Tuesday the detention aims at silencing East Jerusalem’s local leaders according to Palestinian Authority’s state news agency WAFA.

The detentions happened as the settlement and demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure rages on with six new demolition orders in the occupied city.

Procedures to demolish six Palestinian buildings in Kufr Aqab, an East Jerusalem neighbourhood began on Monday.

Resident of one of the targeted buildings, Ayman Roumieh told WAFA that staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem took measurements of the buildings to demolish them by blowing them up. They were escorted by an Israeli police force and explosive experts inspected the six buildings.

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality said the buildings had no permit.

Four out of five of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, and applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

As a result, only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits have been allocated to Palestinian neighbourhoods in the past few years.

Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

Jerusalem has been a target of illegal Israeli settlements and home demolitions amid a wider plan to annex the Palestinian part of the city.

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