Israeli security forces and bulldozers arrived at the house at 5:00 am (0300 GMT) on Monday with a previously unseen demolition order, claiming it had been built without a permit, according to its residents -- a family of 14.
But Tawwal said the property, on Jerusalem's southeastern edge close to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, had been standing since before 1967, when Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.
"We didn't receive any orders for the demolition" beforehand, Tawwal added.Describing the situation, the family who had been living in the building, said:
They turned up at 5 in the morning. They forced us to go out of our house. They took our cell phones away and forbid us from letting anyone know. We stood there and watched as the bulldozers demolished the house [more].Though this is the first ecclesial property destroyed by the government, there may be more in the coming days:
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said on Tuesday that the city was starting proceedings for the mass demolition of Palestinian homes in other parts of east Jerusalem.His Excellency Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem called the destruction "an act of vandalism that infringes international law."