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Two Palestinian families demolish Jerusalem homes upon Israeli order

March 9, 2019 3:36 P.M. (Updated: March 10, 2019 1:06 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian family, from the Jabal al-Mukabbir in occupied East Jerusalem, demolished their own home on Saturday upon order by the Israeli municipality.

Ali Jaabis told Ma'an that his sister and her family were forced to demolish their own home to avoid Israeli fines and costs of demolition that would be imposed on the family if the demolition was carried out by the Israeli municipality instead.

Israeli ordered the demolition of the family home under the pretext that it does not have the almost-impossible-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit.

The Israeli municipality allowed the family until Sunday to carry out the demolition.

According to Jaabis, the family had been attempting to issue a building permit for the house for the past several months, was able to postpone the demolition by Israel and had paid fees for not obtaining a permit. However, the Israeli municipality decided to finalize the demolition order.

Jaabis added that the eight-member family has become homeless following the demolition.

Additionally, a Palestinian from Silwan was also forced to demolish his own home on Saturday, upon order by Israel.

Owner Atallah Eleiwat said that he had attempted to license his home since its construction 8 years ago, but without avail.

Eleiwat added that his family of 7 lived in the now-demolished house.

Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in 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.

For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem's illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Daniel Seidemann of the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, "since 1967, the Government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago. So much for (Jerusalem Mayor Nir) Barkat's claim 'we build for everyone.'"

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