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Israel Demolishes Palestinian Buildings in East Jerusalem

Israeli authorities have evicted a Palestinian family and demolished their home in East Jerusalem.

Demolition crews protected by Israeli security forces also tore down two other buildings under construction in East Jerusalem, a mostly Arab area that was occupied by Israel after the 1967 war. The demolitions were the first in eight months.

Israel says the buildings were destroyed because they were built without permits. Palestinians say they are forced to build without permits because Israel rarely agrees to Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel has chosen the path of settlements rather than peace.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also criticized the demolitions, calling them illegal and an obstacle to peace. He was speaking in Brussels during a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, but its annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized internationally.

Israel suspended home demolitions last year when the United States increased pressure on both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid actions that could undermine efforts to restart the peace process.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.