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Israel hands arbitrary demolition notices to Jerusalem residents

February 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm

On Sunday, the Israeli occupation handed over an ‘administrative destruction notice’ to the owner of a six-flat building under construction in the Beit-Haneena neighbourhood in Jerusalem and detained three construction workers from the site.

Staff of the Jerusalem Municipality claimed that the building is being built without a construction permit. Naji Hassouna, the owner of the building, which is still under construction, denied the claim and said that he had obtained permission two years ago.

Hassouna said that the destruction notice is “arbitrary and targeted”. “Proof of this is that initially, the municipality inspectors claimed the notice was issued as the contractor had failed to adhere to the permit’s conditions,” he said. “However, the court did not prove this last month.”

Witnesses at the site said that Israeli forces detained three construction workers working in the building.

Meanwhile, four other houses in Wadi al-Hilwa in the Selwan neighbourhood also received destruction notices. A member of staff from the Wadi al-Hilwa Information Centre, Ahmed al-Qaraeen, said that the Israeli police accompanied municipal staff when they handed over the notices.

Al-Qaraeen also affirmed that the notices are arbitrary. “The reason, he said, is that one of the four targeted buildings is owned by the Islamic Awqaf, was built before 1967 and no reconstruction or renovation works have taken place in it.”

According to the Wadi al-Hilwa Information Centre, the most dangerous destruction notices are ‘administrative’ orders under which a person’s house is destroyed within 24 hours.