Israeli plans to demolish Palestinian homes near a military barrier on the outskirts of Jerusalem have drawn international criticism amid Palestinian fears that a precedent would be set for other buildings along the barrier route. Sur Baher is a Palestinian community that lies southeast of Jerusalem's city center in an area that Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East War. A sprawling village, it straddles the line between east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Palestinians have long suffered from the ongoing risk of demolition by Israeli forces. Destroying hope and the means of education, as well as the future, for Palestinian children and youth, Israeli military forces last year demolished a school in a Bedouin community in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The pending demolition is the latest round of protracted wrangling over the future of Jerusalem, home to more than 500,000 Israelis and 300,000 Palestinians, and sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. In 1980, the Israeli parliament passed a law declaring the "complete and united" city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, including the eastern half that it captured in 1967. But the U.N. regards east Jerusalem as occupied, and the city's status as disputed until resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, who say that east Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.