May 20, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official has accused Israel of demolishing houses belong to Arabs in Jerusalem, saying the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has handed demolition notices to Arab Jerusalemites.

"These new procedures against the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are very dangerous and will lead to a dead end" in newly- launched indirect talks with Israel, Hatem Abdul Qader, a Fatah official in charge of Jerusalem affairs told Voice of Palestine radio on Thursday.

He said the residents of Jerusalem "have no other choice but to defend their homes," urging the Palestinians to join those whose houses "would be knocked down in protests to try to prevent the demolitions."

The municipality of Jerusalem has planned to raze Palestinian- owned houses in al-Bustan neighborhood of Jerusalem for being " illegally built," an act seen by the Palestinians as an "intended plan to Judaise the Arab part of the city."

The Israelis said they have postponed the demolitions in the holy city to "give a chance" to the U.S. peace efforts which have just succeeded in launching proximity negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel views the holy city as their "undividable" capital and classifies scores of Arab homes in east Jerusalem as "illegal," while the Palestinians and the international community consider the eastern part of the town as the capital of the future Palestinian state, which makes the city one of the thorniest key issues of the final-status talks.


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