JERUSALEM, February 18, 2017 (WAFA) – A Palestinian family was forced on Saturday to demolish its own house in Silwan, an East Jerusalem neighborhood, after the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem condemned the house under the pretext it was built without permit, according to local sources.
The 60-square meter, one-bedroom house owned by the Qaraeen family was built six years ago.
The municipality informed the family last week of its decision to demolish it under the pretext it was built without a permit.
The family was told it has until the end of February to tear it down or else the municipality would send its own crews to demolish it and force the family to pay exorbitant costs.
As a result, the Qaraeen family opted to tear it down with its own hands and used hand tools to knock down the walls, said the sources.
Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem say it is almost impossible to obtain a building permit from the right-wing West Jerusalem Israeli municipality and are therefore forced to build without a permit and bear the risks of doing that.
While the municipality neglects Palestinian growth needs in Jerusalem, it carries out construction of thousands of homes for Jews on expropriated Palestinian land with a goal to keep the Palestinian population in the city at a minimum while multiplying its Jewish settler population.
The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, said on Tuesday that the Israeli authorities demolished 88 residential buildings and 48 other structures in occupied East Jerusalem in 2016, 15 of them demolished by their owners, rendering homeless 295 people, including 160 minors.
“Israeli authorities continued their discriminatory policies against East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents as part of an overall policy designed to cause Palestinians to leave the city. Their actions are also part of efforts to achieve a demographic and geographic reality that would frustrate any future attempt to question Israeli sovereignty in East Jerusalem,” said B’Tselem.