RAMALLAH, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- A member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee Wednesday slammed the demolition of 20 commercial buildings in Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem.
Israel's demolition in the camp is considered "waging war against the camp under unlawful pretexts of lack of construction permits," said Ahmad Abu Holy, who is in charge of the PLO's Refugees Affairs Department, in a statement.
He described the Israeli move as "a dangerous and systematic crime and a part of Israel's practice of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem."
A large number of Israeli troops with bulldozers carried out a wide demolition operation in Shufat refugee camp Wednesday morning, leveling to the ground 20 commercial building including shops and businesses belonging to Palestinian refugees, and a source of living for at least dozens of families.
Khader Al-Dibs, Shuafat refugee camp popular committee's public relations coordinator, told Xinhua that "this demolition is a new episode in the implementation of Israel's plan to take over the refugee camp by stopping the services offered by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), and eventually Judaize the entire city and force its people out of it."
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has approved only 1.5 percent of the construction building permits called by the Palestinians in the city.
Last September, former Israeli mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat declared a plan to shut down UNRWA services in the city, in contradiction of international law, mostly targeting Shuafat refugee camp, which is home to nearly 24,000 Palestinian refugees.