Hamas to demolish 40 Gaza homes
By: Shuaib Abu Jahal
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Gaza's Hamas government is set to demolish 40 houses in central Gaza city, nearly one year after a court ruled the neighborhood to be public property.
Bulldozers were stationed Wednesday outside the homes of nearly 75 families in al-Rimal neighborhood. Many of whom are Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel in 1948.
Demolitions are expected to take place later in the day.
Meanwhile, scores of residents staged a demonstration against the decision outside Palestinian Legislative Council offices.
“This is a great injustice, an act of persecution and a forceful imposition of Hamas's own version of laws on refugees,” resident Hazem Abu Hmeid told Al-Akhbar.
Families will be given $1,000 each in compensation, and have been allotted pieces of land near Gaza's borders. Abu Hmeid says the government's remuneration “falls very short” of the money invested in their houses.
He says that he has invested over $50,000 in his house.
The government, however, claims that the families had agreed to the package over negotiations Tuesday night.
“We will no longer accept violations against public property, no matter how long they have been going on for … we want to assure people that we respect human rights for decent living and finding suitable living situations for the families,” read a statement from the Gaza government.
“We emphasize the extreme importance we place on not abandoning the families whose houses will be removed to the streets,” it added.
Al-Rimal neighborhood lies in a busy commercial area where property values are among the highest in the coastal strip. Many residents expect the government to open the area up to lucrative investments.