Jerusalem municipality bulldozers demolished an Arab home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Tuesday, that the city charged was illegally built.

The uninhabited house was being built in an area where construction is forbidden, the municipality said, and was razed in accordance with a court order.

The demolition comes just weeks after Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski sidestepped a potentially explosive issue by nixing longstanding city plans to raze as many as 80 inhabited Arab homes in a section of the neighborhood.

That proposal had set off a fierce public storm with Palestinians and local Arab residents, who warned of a new outbreak of violence if the city were to go ahead with the demolition plan.

Palestinians and left-wing Israelis complain that it is difficult for Arabs to obtain building permits in Jerusalem, forcing them to build illegally; the municipality insists it is evenhanded in enforcing building codes in all parts of the city.

The city has demolished 41 illegally constructed homes in east Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, a city spokesman said Tuesday.

The issue of Arab house demolitions is especially contentious in east Jerusalem, since the structures are built on land which Palestinians want for the capital of their hoped-for state.