Israel demolishes four East Jerusalem homes
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Updated 11:42 pm: Israeli forces demolished four Palestinian-owned homes in East Jerusalem on Tuesday, leaving several families homeless, local media reported.
Witnesses said that a large Israeli police force surrounded the buildings in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood and closed off the area before demolishing the buildings.
One building belonged to the Abu al-Dabaat family and consisted of three floors housing four families in four apartments totaling 480 square meters.
"The building has been there since 1973," said Raed Abu al-Dabaat, one of the apartment owners. "It was built on land owned by my father, and he lived there since 1930," he told Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
"After the building was finished my father was arrested and sentenced to two years for allegedly building without a permit.
Israeli forces assaulted family members in clashes that erupted before the demolition, and three Palestinians were arrested, a Ma'an reporter said.
The second building was home to the al-Qaq family and housed three people.
The al-Qaq family built the property 13 years ago and received a demolition order in 2002 for lacking a building permit. The demolition order was halted and an Israeli court ordered the family to pay 80,000 shekels ($21,800) as a penalty.
The family then tried to obtain a building permit, but were unable to do so.
Earlier in the neighborhood of al-Tur, soldiers raided two homes, both owned by the Shalan family, and forced the occupants out before using bulldozers to demolish the property, also under the pretext of building without a permit.
“We tried so many times to get a building permit but the Israeli courts kept refusing," Um Mahmoud, one of the residents, told Ma'an.
Seven people lived in those properties, she added.
The Palestine News Network added that the homes in al-Tur were located near the Ghaith family residence demolished last month which left 24 people homeless.
The demolitions come one day after Israeli forces razed a car dealership and apartment around Jerusalem.
Mohammed al-Julani on Monday said he was shocked after receiving a call from Israeli authorities notifying him that he had to remove 65 cars from his property ahead of the demolition in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Julani told Ma’an that he tried for three years to get a permit. He said his case was still pending in the court and had received no formal notice before the demolition.
Meanwhile bulldozers in the Shufat refugee camp just north of Jerusalem demolished an apartment that Israel claimed was built without a permit.
Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank occur almost daily under the pretext of building without a permit.
According to the United Nations, 33 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, which are difficult to obtain, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement.
Roughly 94 percent of Palestinian applications for building permits are rejected, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The group estimates that Israeli authorities have demolished about 27,000 Palestinian structures in the West Bank since 1967.