Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal (C) stands amongst the ruins of a Palestinian home, on November 5, 2013, a week after it was demolished by the Israeli authority, in Israeli annexed East Jerusalem. The building which was built prior to 1967 belongs to the Latin (Roman Catholic) Patriarchate, and was let to a Palestinian family. Structures built prior to 1967 are legal and were constructed prior to the annexation by Israel of East Jerusalem during the Six-day War. AFP PHOTO /AHMAD GHARABLI Image Credit: AFP

Occupied Jerusalem: The head of the Roman Catholic church in the Holy Land protested Tuesday against Israel’s demolition of a church-owned property in annexed east Jerusalem, saying it eroded chances for peace.

“This act is against the law, against justice and against humanity, against any ideology upon which peace can be built and increases segregation and hate,” Latin Patriarch of occupied Jerusalem Fuad Tawwal told journalists at the site of the demolition.

Israeli security forces and bulldozers arrived at the house at 5am (0300 GMT) on Monday with a previously unseen demolition order, claiming it had been built without a permit, according to its residents - a family of 14.

But Tawwal said the property, on occupied Jerusalem’s southeastern edge close to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, had been standing since before 1967, when Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.

“We didn’t receive any orders for the demolition” beforehand, Tawwal added.

“This is holy land and always will be, and the interior ministry, the [Jerusalem] municipality and Israeli organisations knew it belonged to the patriarchate.”

Tawwal said the church would appeal to Israeli and international courts over the demolition and had already complained to the interior ministry and the municipality.

He said it was the first time the Jewish state had demolished property belonging to the church.

The municipality’s spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.