Israel is forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem as part of a deliberate policy that might constitute a war crime, a prominent Israeli non-governmental organisation said, a charge rejected by Jerusalem's mayor.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) has presented the United Nations with its findings on Monday and demanded an inquiry, saying Israel targeted Palestinians by demolishing homes, revoking residency and eroding quality of life.
"We are witnessing a process of ethnic displacement," said Michael Sfard, a lawyer who helped draw up a 73-page report into the issue. "Israel is manifestly and seriously violating international law ... and the motivation is demographic."
Stephan Miller, a spokesman for Israel's mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, dismissed the report. He said in a statement it was based on "misleading facts, blatant lies and political spin about Jerusalem, so I'm sure the UN will enjoy it".
Israel seized East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 Middle East war. It later annexed the area and surrounding West Bank villages into a Jerusalem municipality that it declared the united and eternal capital of Israel.
World powers have not recognised Israel's annexations - which, according to international law, are illegal. Moreover, Palestinians want E Jerusalem for the capital of their future state.