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Israeli authorities demolish home in Jerusalem-area village of Beit Hanina

Nov. 2, 2016 5:59 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 3, 2016 1:46 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers demolished a residence in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Wednesday morning, despite the owners saying that the demolition order had been postponed

Thalji Suleiman, the owner of the building said that an Israeli court had postponed the demolition order by two months on Tuesday, and that his family was attempting to obtain building licences from the Israeli municipality but were taken by surprise by the demolition.

He added that his family tried to show the municipality crew the postponing order to get them to call off the demolition, to no avail.

Suleiman said that the family had started work on the two-story building two years ago, adding that some of the four apartments inside were still under construction.

The Jerusalem municipality told Ma’an that it carried out the demolition to "enforce zoning regulations in the city,” denying that the order had been postponed.

Demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge in recent months, with the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 already well exceeding the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.

More than 1,293 Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of 2016 as a result of demolitions in the occupied territory, compared to 688 Palestinians displaced over the entirety of 2015, according to UN documentation.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including 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, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ) in Silwan found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).

As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits s nearly impossible, and only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.

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