Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian-owned building in Beit Hanina
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- For the second day in a row on Wednesday morning
, Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned building that was under construction in Beit Hanina in occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext that the building lacked the nearly impossible to obtain building licenses required by Israeli authorities.
Witnesses told Ma’an via telephone that Israeli bulldozers raided the Tal al-Foul area of Beit Hanina, surrounded the building, and began razing it to the ground.
Local sources added that construction of the building began several years ago, but was stopped upon an order from Israel's Jerusalem municipality.
A spokesperson for the municipality confirmed the demoltion to Ma'an.
Palestinian news outlet the al-Quds Network published a video documenting the demolition.
According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, Israel's discriminatory policies on planning and construction
that allocate enormous budgets for Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem have come at the expense of development for Palestinian communities since Israel illegally annexed the territory in 1967.
The situation has forced many Palestinians to build homes without obtaining permits, while the Jerusalem municipality enforces building laws on Palestinians much more stringently than on the Jewish population -- even though the number of violations is much higher in the Jewish neighborhoods according to B’Tselem.
As four out of five of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for these permits is nearly impossible. Application fees can reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180), according to ARIJ. As a result, only 7 percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.
Two Palestinian homes were demolished in Beit Hanina
last month, and more than 100 Palestinian homes have been destroyed in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of the year, including 14 in occupied East Jerusalem, according to United Nations documentation.
In addition to land seizures and home demolitions, the crackdown on Palestinian Jerusalemites has also seen the escalation of violent night raids by Israeli police, carried out in breach of protocol and without proper search warrants.
During a predawn detention raid Monday that targeted the families of Palestinians who were either slain or incarcerated after carrying out or allegedly carrying out attacks, one family’s testimony described violent assaults by masked police officers
The fate of Jerusalem
has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the "Judaization" of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.