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8 Palestinians displaced after Israeli forces demolish home in Silwan

Sept. 13, 2017 12:58 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 13, 2017 5:20 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday morning, displacing eight Palestinians, including four children.

Workers from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality escorted by Israeli police forces raided the Ras al-Amud area of Silwan, surrounded a two-story home belonging to the Abu Farha family, and proceeded to raze it to the ground.

The family told Ma’an the demolition came just after an Israeli court rejected an appeal to postpone the demolition.

However, Ma’an reported on Tuesday that an appeal to postpone the demolition for five days had been granted, after the family had began moving their belongings out of the house Monday night. Ma’an has reached out to both the family and Israel’s Jerusalem municipality for clarification.

The building was owned by Mutasem and Muntasser Abu Farha, and was constructed one year ago. One of the brothers said he dutifully attempted to obtain licenses from the municipality, to no avail.

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The demolition came as multiple reports emerged in recent weeks of Israeli authorities delivering demolitions warrants to Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem. On Such raid targeted the Issawiya neighborhood Tuesday.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.

However, human rights groups have highlighted that due to discriminatory policies, there is not enough planning in occupied East Jerusalem according to which Palestinians can apply for a permit.

For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Daniel Seidemann of the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, “Since 1967, the Government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago. So much for (Jerusalem Mayor Nir) Barkat’s claim ‘we build for everyone.’”

According to United Nations documentation, 254 Palestinians were displaced and 190 buildings have been demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year as of Aug. 28. Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high in 2016.
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