UNITED NATIONS - Some 9,000 Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, half of them children, risk having their homes demolished by Israel, the United Nations said in a report published Friday. The Palestinians live in 1,500 East Jerusalem buildings, against which demolition orders have been issued over the past years because they were built without hard-to-get Israeli-issued permits, said the report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At least 28 per cent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been built without the requisite building permits from Israel, said OCHA. As a result, at least 60,000 out of 225,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are in theory at risk of having their homes demolished by Israel. However, demolition orders have not been issued against all of them. But occupied Jerusalems new right-wing mayor, Nir Barkat, has vowed to act for upholding the law and against illegal construction in both East and West Jerusalem - ignoring the fact that Israel itself is in illegal occupation. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and then annexed it, after expanding the boundaries of the city into the West Bank. Israel claims sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, but the annexation has never been recognised by the UN or its member states. During a recent tour of East Jerusalem, Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, called for an immediate end to the demolitions, which he described as not helpful, fuelling tensions at a time when the international community is trying to relaunch a results-oriented peace process. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also spoke out against threatened demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem during her visit to the region in March. Such activities, she said, are not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the 'road map, the United States-backed peace plan of 2003. The United Nations report, in exploring the reasons for the demolitions, noted that the process of applying for a building permit in East Jerusalem was lengthy and costly and that there was no guarantee that one would be issued in the end. Even for building on land zoned for Palestinian construction, applicants must submit a detailed area plan. The Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, which stood at about 66,000 in 1967, is now about 250,000. In addition, more than 195,000 Israelis live in Jewish developments - referred to as neighbourhoods by the Israelis and as settlements by the United Nations - in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian population growth, coupled with the difficulty in obtaining building permits, has led to a situation in which at least 28pc of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been built in violation of Israeli zoning requirements, according to the United Nations report. One case highlighted in the report was that of Mahmoud Alayyan and his family, who live between the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sur Baher and the Israeli development of East Talpiot. The house was built in 1963. An extension was added, without a permit, in 1999. Alayyan said he was told by the Israeli municipal authorities in 2000 that he could not get retroactive approval for the extension because his home was in a designated green area. This year, he was told that the entire house was slated for demolition to make way for the expansion of East Talpiot. His case is pending in court. Another case that received attention during Serrys tour of East Jerusalem on April 22 was that of the Hdaidun family, whose home was demolished that day. By the UN count, it was the 19th such demolition this year. (In 2008 there were some 93; demolitions reached an annual peak of 133 in 2004.) When Serrys party arrived at the site, Amar Salameh al-Hdaidun, 39; his wife, Samia; and their five young children, some in school uniforms, were gathered by the heap of rubble that was their home. Hdaidun said he and several neighbours had been going through a planning process for five years to try to change the zoning of their land from a designated green area to a residential area. He said they had spent some $45,000 on the plans, which were to be submitted by this July. A court order postponing demolition of the house expired in January, however, and Hdaidun did not apply for an extension. Serry, a Dutch diplomat, was visibly moved and expressed his sympathy to the family, whose furniture and other belongings were piled up nearby.