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Palestinian family demolishes part of own apartment in Jerusalem

April 6, 2016 2:33 P.M. (Updated: April 6, 2016 9:13 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian family tore down part of its own apartment in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Wednesday to avoid paying the Jerusalem municipality's demolition costs.

Shireen al-Sidawi, the owner of the apartment, told Ma'an that Israel ordered the demolition of an extension that was built onto the home three years ago on the grounds it did not have the necessary construction permits.

She said Israeli forces arrived on Wednesday morning to carry out the demolition order, but together with neighbors and relatives, she was able to tear down the extension herself, thereby avoiding the municipality's demolition costs.

Sidawi said the extensions consisted of two rooms -- one built from wood, the other of aluminum.

Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem regularly tear down their own homes to avoid paying the Jerusalem municipality's demolition bills.

This year has seen a wave of demolition orders against Palestinian buildings across the occupied Palestinian territory, with more than 650 Palestinians left homeless in under three months, according to the UN.

East Jerusalem has seen an aggressive policy of home demolitions for years, as right-wing Israelis seek to tip the demographic balance to make the occupied city more Jewish.

According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, nearly 579 homes have been destroyed in the city over the last twelve years, leaving 2,133 Palestinians homeless in total.
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