JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers leveled Palestinian land in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Tur on Wednesday.
Israeli police closed the area of Khallat al-Ein and prevented local residents from accessing the area before bulldozers started to level around 20,000 square meters of land.
Local activist Mufeed Abu Ghannam told Ma'an that the move has shocked residents, as locals had petitioned Israeli courts to freeze all work on land in al-Tur.
The area is being readied for the construction of a National Park.
In 2011, the Israeli District Planning Committee for Zoning and Building in Jerusalem submitted a plan for the construction of a 'National Park', which would be built on 738 dunams of land confiscated from the Palestinian neighborhoods of al-Isawiya and al-Tur, according to the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem.
Construction of the park would effectively separate the neighborhoods of al-Tur and al-Isawiya, diminish the possibility of future expansion for Palestinian villages in the area, and facilitate the link between Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim and E1 settlement area, the CCPRJ says.
This proposed new national park on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus in East Jerusalem could take nearly 200 acres from the Palestinian neighborhoods of Al-Issawiyah and Al-Tur. Israel. 11th January 2012
The East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Al-Issawiyya and A-Tur are crowded and underdeveloped. Natural growth of these communities has been restricted by lack of building permits from Israeli authorities, and are hemmed in by the Israeli separation wall and surrounding settlements built on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Now, a new national part on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus could seize 750 dunams (nearly 200 acres) of the remaining open land between these two communities.
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