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Israeli authorities demolish Palestinian home in northern Israel

Nov. 21, 2016 7:52 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 21, 2016 10:36 P.M.)
GALILEE (Ma’an) -- Israeli police and Yasam riot police units demolished a two-story home belonging to a Palestinian citizen of Israel in the village of Hurfish in northern Israel on Sunday evening, over claims that it had been built without adhering to Israeli construction regulations.

Fellow Palestinian with Israeli citizenship Abdullah Abu Maarouf, a Knesset member from the Arab Joint List, visited the Sarhan family, whose house was demolished.

In front of the crowds who were present in the area, Abu Maarouf said that he considered the demolition a “savage crime” for which the Israeli government needed to be held accountable.

“Our main national aim is to prevent the demolition of any Arab home in the country, especially Arabs who built their houses on lands they inherited from their ancestors,” he said, employing the term often used in Israel to refer to Palestinian with Israeli citizenship.

The MK also stressed the necessity of finding solutions for unauthorized construction in the village, stating that the reason why many buildings were constructed illegally in Palestinian-majority municipalities in Israel was that Israeli authorities often rejected their requests for permits.

He said that the demolition conducted is the biggest lie and scam of a state that equals duties with rights, for rights must be given to all citizens of the county unconditionally.

Abu Maarouf added that he and fellow MK Hamad Ammar, who was also in Hurfish, had filed an urgent appeal to the Knesset to demand that the Israeli government facilitate Palestinian citizen of Israel’s applications to expand their homes.

He also promised the Sarhan family that he would keep up with the case to ensure the family’s right to residency.

While Israeli law guarantees Palestinian citizens of Israel the same equality as Jewish Israelis, in practice there are claims of discrimination in government funding and a raft of other issues.

In 2015, Israeli rights group Adalah said that only 4.6 percent of new homes built in Israel were in Palestinian towns and villages, despite the fact that Palestinians make up over 20 percent of the population.

Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, who number between 500,000 and 600,000, receive four times as many housing units as Palestinian citizens Israel, the group added.

Palestinian communities in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem have long been targeted by discriminatory Israeli policies, whether through “divide and conquer” tactics, attempts at forcibly displacing Bedouin communities, and what has been denounced as a policy of "Judaization" of Jerusalem at the expense of other religious communities.

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