Demographic War: Why Some Palestinians Demolish Their Own Homes

Israeli military bulldozer demolishes a Palestinian-owned homes in occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo: WAFA, file)

The Saud family, with the help of neighbors, demolished their own home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. But why?

Israeli occupation authorities forced on Saturday a Palestinian family to self-demolish their own house in occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, citing unpermitted construction as a pretext.

Witnesses told the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA that Ahmed Saud, the owner, demolished his own house after being pressed into doing so by the all-Israeli municipality.

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Demolished Either Way 

Saud had no choice but to do so in order to avoid paying exorbitant fees to the Israeli municipality in the event that its crews carried out the demolition on their own.

Either way the house would have to be demolished. Palestinian families sometimes opt to self-demolish to avoid the high cost of having their homes destroyed by the Israeli military.

Under the pretext of building without a permit, which is almost never granted to Palestinians in the occupied city, the Israeli municipality has been demolishing or forcing Palestinians to demolish their homes in Jerusalem as part of a policy aimed to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

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Homes for Settlers Only 

At the same time, the municipality and government facilitate the construction of tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jewish settlers with the goal of offsetting the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as “residents” whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

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They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.


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