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Palestinian family in East Jerusalem forced to demolish their own home

Feb. 18, 2017 2:16 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2017 7:41 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian family in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem was forced to demolish their own home on Saturday following orders from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.

The Qarrain family told Ma’an that they had recently received an order from the Jerusalem municipality stating that the house was lacking Israeli-issued building permits and would need to be demolished.

The family added that they had been given two weeks to carry out the demolition themselves, to avoid the exorbitant fees imposed by the municipality when their crews carry out home demolitions.

The house is 65 square meters and was built seven years ago, according to the family.

A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality was not immediately available for comment.

Though the Israeli Jerusalem municipality has said it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem compared to the Jewish population, and that Palestinian applications "see high approval ratings," procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits are lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs can 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 these permits is nearly impossible. As a result, only 7 percent of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods.

According to UN documentation, at least 1,093 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished in 2016, displacing 1,601 Palestinians. So far in 2017, more than 119 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished.

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