Feb 23, 2009
Palestinians ask Obama to press Israel to halt demolitions
RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Authority urged the US president on Monday to press Israel to scrap a plan to raze almost 90 homes in annexed Arab east Jerusalem. "We call on President Barack Obama to intervene personally to have this project stopped," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, one of the main aides of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. The Palestinian owners of 88 houses in the Silwan neighbourhood have received eviction notices saying that the structures will be destroyed because they were built or expanded without the necessary permits. The move would affect about 1,500 people. "It is a massacre that Israel will commit in this Holy City," Abed Rabbo told a news conference, calling for "urgent Arab and international action to halt this dangerous project." He said some of the houses affected by the orders had been built before Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. The official called for a day-long strike in east Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank to protest against the plan. Silwan, which abuts the Old City of Jerusalem, is home to 10,000 Palestinians.