The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem handed out demolition orders, on Wednesday, to five Palestinian families living in Al-Bustan neighborhood.The families said that municipality employees guarded by Israeli soldiers handed out the demolishing orders early today’s morning.

The orders said that the all five families have constructed the homes they live in illegally because they did not obtain the permission of the municipality.

Israel occupied the city of Jerusalem in 1967. Since then it has rarely given its Palestinian residents permissions to built homes or renovate old ones. In the meantime, the government continues to build Israeli settlements in and around the city, an act which is illegal under international law.

Al-Bustan is a Palestinian neighborhood of some 88 homes, located near Jerusalem’s old city. All those homes are deemed illegal by the Israeli authorities. An Israeli settlers group claim that the land that the Al-Bustan neighborhood is built on used to be owned by Jews prior to the creation of Israel.

Al-Bustan neighborhood was created by Palestinian families who became refugees during the war of 1948. The Jordanian government, that controlled Jerusalem at the time, gave them the land to live on.

Human right groups in Jerusalem say that there were 1,200 demolition orders issued by the Israeli municipality in 2009 against Palestinian families living in Jerusalem.

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