Israel Demolishes Home Sheltering Family of Seven in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, November 2, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Monday demolished a Palestinian-owned home in Jabal al-Mukabir in the city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to local sources.

The house owner, Sami Edris, said staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem accompanied by bulldozers and a police escort cordoned off the area in the morning, and proceeded to demolish his home without prior warning.

Edris said he was forced to take out his personal belongings, including funds and legal paperwork, before municipal staff started emptying the house from its furniture in preparation to be demolished.

Edris said he had incurred some 100 thousand shekels (about $25,000) in construction of the home, which shelters seven members of his family.

Humanitarian and legal bodies and institutions such as the UN, OCHA and B’Tselem confirm that the planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.

“As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met,” OCHA reports.

According to OCHA, in 2014 alone, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 97 buildings in East Jerusalem, while demolished five others in 2015, under the pretext of building without a construction permit.

On August 21, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, John Kirby, in a statement,expressed deep concern over the recent Israeli escalation of Palestinian home demolitions.

“We are very troubled by the recent escalation of demolitions and evictions, which include the destruction of dozens of structures and the displacement of over 150 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this month alone,” read the statement.

He described these demolitions and evictions as ‘harmful and provocative and indicative of a damaging trend, particularly given settlement-related activity and continued construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.’