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For the second time, Palestinian family sees their E. Jerusalem home demolished by Israel

May 18, 2016 12:28 P.M. (Updated: May 19, 2016 10:46 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian family’s home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat early on Wednesday morning, marking the second time the al-Hawarin family saw their home destroyed in 15 years.

“The occupation is stealing our dreams, depriving us of living safely in our own homes,” Nadia al-Hawarin told Ma’an as she looked at the ruins of her home.

Al-Hawarin added that Israeli forces had demolished the family’s former home in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina in 2001, under the pretext that it was built without a license from the Israeli municipality.

“Today, they demolished our house in Shufat for the sake of a road serving settlers,” she said. “The occupation demolished our home to serve the settlers, paying no attention to the fact that eight family members will become homeless.”

Al-Hawarin said that Israeli forces demolished a house belonging to al-Rishiq family in the same area in January, displacing dozens in order to build a road to benefit Israeli settlers in the area.

Al-Hawarin’s husband, Rajih al-Hawarin, said in a filmed interview with Ma'an that a large number of Israeli troops stormed the house at dawn and started to tear down the building.

He said that the house had been built in 2001 following the demolition of the family’s Beit Hanina home.

Before he started to build in Shufat, Rajih al-Hawarin said he had applied for a construction license and obtained initial approval.

“Then I was taken by surprise in 2002, when the application was suspended under the pretext that the area had been rezoned to build a new road connecting the illegal Ramat Shlomo and Pisgat Zeev settlements,” he added.

Rajih al-Hawarin added that the Jerusalem municipality handed him a first demolition order in 2012, and that he had submitted several appeals, to no avail.

East Jerusalem was seized by Israel along with the West Bank in 1967 during the Six-Day War, and since then, the Israeli government has undertaken a policy of "Judaization" across the city, constructing Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes.

There are upwards of 500,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention to international law.

A study by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department reported more than 3,000 Palestinian structures demolished in East Jerusalem since 1967.

According to rights group Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Israeli government issues building permits in line with discriminatory state policy enacted to increase the Jewish population, while neglecting local Palestinians.

Only 14 percent of East Jerusalem land is zoned for Palestinian residential construction, while one-third of Palestinian land has been confiscated since 1967 to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, ACRI documented.

In January, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved recommendations for the “enforcement of regulations” in occupied East Jerusalem, in what Israeli daily Haaretz reported would likely prioritize the demolitions of Palestinian homes.

The daily reported that the new recommendations could expedite the demolition of around some 50,000 houses in Palestinian communities in Israel and Jerusalem.

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