A Palestinian family in East Jerusalem had to demolish three apartments they had been building on Saturday after an Israeli court threatened the structures with demolition by the municipality.
The family chose to demolish the structures manually before the municipal council of Jerusalem could send out bulldozers to do it.
If the municipality itself had carried out the demolition, it would have charged the family a fee of 200,000 shekels ($55,000).
Muhammad Amira from Sur Bahir village told Ma’an that he demolished a two-floor building with two apartments measuring 200 square meters each. while his brother Nidal had to demolish a one-floor building measuring 150 square meters.
The structures, he said, have been under construction for the last year. A preliminary demolition order was issued earlier and the family tried to delay implementation, Amira said.
After this process, a final order was given which was due to be implemented before Saturday, Nov. 30.
Amira pointed out that his lawyer presented to the judge blueprints which proved that parts of the structures were on West Bank lands and thus not under Jerusalem municipal control, but the judge did not care and instead ordered the demolition of both structures.
Amira added that he and his brother have 12 family members. They have spent more than 500,000 shekels ($140,000) on the buildings which they had to demolish with their own hands.
“The occupation authorities use these racist procedures to displace us from our lands, but we assert that we will remain steadfast.”
Amira added that all Palestinian houses in Deir al-Amoud neighborhood of Sur Bahir face demolition threat because the “municipality refuses to grant construction licenses.”
Israel has destroyed more than 500 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and mostly East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, displacing 862 people, according to UNOCHA.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)