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Man forced to demolish own home in East Jerusalem

Aug. 18, 2013 2:58 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2013 9:02 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian from Jerusalem was forced to demolish his own home on Sunday after Israeli authorities declared that the property was unlicensed.

Ziad Ameira told Ma'an that he built his home in the Sur Bahir area of East Jerusalem 15 years ago on land inherited from his father.

Nine family members lived on the property.

"Despite the difficult situation for the members of my family, today and yesterday I demolished the house that I lived in for 13 years as a result of the decision of the occupation's municipal court," Ameira told Ma'an.

He chose to demolish his home to avoid a 73,000 shekel ($20,400) fine imposed by the Jerusalem municipality for destruction costs.

Ameira still had to pay 25,000 shekels ($7,000) to hire a bulldozer and trucks to transport the rubble.

Israel's Jerusalem municipality issued a demolition order for the home 20 days after the family first moved in, but Ameira was able to postpone it by paying multiple fines and mounting several legal challenges.

Last May, Israeli authorities issued a final decision to demolish the home on the pretext that it was built without a permit.

Israeli forces demolished 412 housing units in East Jerusalem between 2004-2012, according to B'Tselem, leaving 1,636 Palestinians homeless.

Palestinian homes are usually demolished under the pretext of not having a building permit. Figures from Israeli NGO Bimkom show that 95 percent of Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected.

Rights groups say that Israel implements a series of discriminatory practices in housing, planning, residency rights and budget allocation in East Jerusalem, with the aim of reducing the number of Palestinians living in the city.

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