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Israel police attack Palestinians protesting against wedding hall demolition

Demolitions of Palestinian-owned buildings are frequent [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 July, 2020

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Police attacked demonstrators protesting against the demolition of an 'unauthorised' wedding hall with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinian demonstrators who had gathered on Sunday to protest the demolition of a local wedding hall.

Dozens of protesters blocked a road in the northern Palestinian-majority city of Tira to stop bulldozers from reaching the Raghadan wedding hall.

At least three people, including the owner of the wedding hall, were injured after police fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at the protesters, Arab48 reported. Two others were arrested by Israeli authorities.

The hall was scheduled for demolition by the state as it had been built without a permit.

Palestinian citizens of Israel struggle to acquire planning permission for the construction of homes and other buildings, part of a system that favours Jewish Israelis, Human Rights Watch said earlier this year.

Around 15 to 20 percent of homes in Palestinian-majority towns and villages in Israel are built without permission, according to the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, meaning that as many as 70,000 homes are at risk of demolition.

The wedding hall's demolition went ahead despite a local municipality decision last year allowing its owners to use the building for three years. As such, its owners have been forced to cancel two years' worth of wedding reservations.

Nader Abdel-Hay, director of the hall, claimed police had attempted to blackmail municipality members into rescinding that decision.

"The police threatened municipality members with a criminal case against them," Abdel-Hay told Arab48

"There are no words to describe this tragedy. What will we say to the grooms who arranged to spend the best day of their life in the hall?"

The demolition means at least 60 families have lost an income, he added.

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