Israeli Bulldozers Demolish Palestinian-Owned Home in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, January 20, 2016 (WAFA) – Bulldozers of the so-called Israeli Municipality of West Jerusalem Wednesday demolished a Palestinian-owned under construction house in Wadi Qadoom neighborhood in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan, citing permitted building as a pretext.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that Israeli police forces, accompanied with bulldozers, and a municipal staff, stormed the town of Silwan in the pre-dawn hours, sealed off Wadi Qadoom and surrounding areas, before proceeding to demolish the 300-square-meters house, which was built only three months ago and belonged to local Samer Nassar.

The Nassar family noted that the demolition took place without any prior notice, noting that the building costs amounted to 180 thousand Israeli Shekels (over 35 thousand Dollars).

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli information center for  human rights in the occupied territories, from 2004 until 31 Aug. 2015, Israel demolished at least 579 Palestinian residential units in the East Jerusalem area, causing 2,133 people – including at least 1,158 minors – to lose their homes.

To be noted,  Israel rarely issues construction permits for Palestinians living in area C, under full Israeli control, prompting them to embark on construction without obtaining construction permits.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley argued the demolitions violate international law. “Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension,” he said. “They must stop immediately.”

OCHA argues 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,” it added.

To be noted, many families are forced to demolish their homes with their own hands to avoid the high costs of paying for Israeli government’s bulldozers.