Clashes in Jerusalem as two Arab homes demolished
Arab youths and Border Police troops clashed Monday as the Jerusalem Municipality, defying international pressure, demolished two Arab-owned houses in East Jerusalem's Isawiya neighborhood, Army Radio reported.
Police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the rioters, the radio reported. No injuries were reported in the clashes.
House demolitions, along with blockades of Arab population centers and assassinations of suspected Palestinian militants, have been at the focus of international criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.
Jerusalem officials maintain that the demolitions are carried out solely to enforce city regulations forbidding unlicensed construction. But human rights activists counter that the city turns a virtual blind eye to similar infractions committed by its Jewish residents.
Last month, the municipality, headed by Mayor Ehud Olmert of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's ruling Likud party, demolished 15 Arab-owned houses, citing illegal construction.
Demolitions are viewed as especially sensitive in mostly-Arab East Jerusalem, captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and subsequently annexed by Israel in a step all but unrecognized by the international community.