Morocco slams Israeli demolition plan in Jerusalem

08:48, June 24, 2010      

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Morocco strongly slammed an Israeli plan to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, describing it as a step towards altering the Islamic nature of the disputed city.

"This project reflects the intention of the Israeli occupation to continue its violations against the rights of the Palestinian people and to undermine the city's authentic architectural heritage," Morocco's Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by official MAP news agency.

On Tuesday, Jerusalem planning committee gave approval to a plan for razing 22 homes in Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem to make room for an archeological park and a tourist center.

Israeli officials said the Palestinian homes are built illegally. However, the Palestinians said it is extremely difficult to obtain construction permits in East Jerusalem from Israeli authorities, so they build their homes without the required papers.

Morocco, whose king Mohammed VI heads al-Quds committee, designed to protect the Arab and Muslim character of Jerusalem, said it categorically rejects the "fallacious" Israeli claims to justify the demolition plan.

The kingdom "warns of the serious consequences of this decision which shows no respect for the special legal status of Jerusalem as a city under occupation since 1967," the statement said.

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