JERUSALEM, Israel - Bulldozers completed the demolition of the old Shepherd Hotel in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem's eastern sector.
Built in the mid-1930s by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amim al-Husseini, a close ally of Adoph Hitler, the hotel and surrounding property was purchased in 1985 by Irving Moskowitz, an American Jewish millionaire.
In November 2008, Moskowitz' company received a construction permit to build 20 apartments for Jewish families on the property. To read more about the property's history, click here.
The demolition of the hotel has become another symbol in the battle over Jerusalem.
Not unexpectedly, the move angered Palestinians and drew criticism from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the right of private investors to build anywhere in Jerusalem.
"There should be no expectation that the State of Israel will impose a ban on Jews purchasing private property in Jerusalem," Netanyahu said.
"No democratic government would impose such a ban on Jews, and Israel will certainly not do so," he said.
"Just as Arab residents of Jerusalem can buy or rent property in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Jews can buy or rent property in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem," Netanyahu said.