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Palestinian demolishes own shop in Issawiya to avoid Israeli fines

Jan. 22, 2019 2:31 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 11:51 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man from occupied East Jerusalem was forced to demolish his car repair shop in the Issawiya neighborhood, on Monday night, in order to avoid incurring a heavy demolition fee from the Israeli municipality, who ordered his home be destroyed under the pretext that it was built without an Israeli-issued permit.

The Issawiya resident, Haitham Mustafa, was forced to demolish his car repair shop to avoid paying demolition fines to the Israeli Civil Administration, which would amount to 80,000 shekels ($21,689).

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.

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 UN documentation, three Palestinians were displaced and five buildings have been demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year as of Jan. 29. In 2017, a total of 142 buildings were destroyed in East Jerusalem, displacing 233 Palestinians.

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