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Palestinian demolishes own home in Jerusalem

Feb. 12, 2019 12:09 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 12, 2019 4:02 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man from the Sur Baher village, in occupied Jerusalem, was forced to demolish his own home upon order by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.

Jamal Bkeirat, owner of the house, said that he was forced to demolish his family home after the Israeli municipality allowed him until the beginning of the next month to carry out the demolition before the municipality would.

Bkeirat told Ma’an that he has been attempting to issue licenses for his house, that was built 5 years ago, but without avail.

This is the second time that Bkeirat’s home is demolished upon order by the Israeli municipality; the fire demolition was carried out six years ago, Bkeirat then rebuilt the house for his son to live in it with his family, due to the high rents in Jerusalem.

Bkeirat added that the municipality imposed a fine of 25,000 Israeli shekels on him for building without a license; another fine would be imposed on him if the municipality carries out the demolition.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that 11 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by the owners since the beginning of the year.

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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