The Israeli authorities have demolished several houses in Jerusalem under the pretext of their being built without a permit.
A researcher at the Wadi Halaweh Information Centre, Maysa Abu Ghazaleh, told Safa news agency that the Israeli authorities' bulldozers, protected by the police, demolished two houses in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sur Baher and Beit Hanina on Wednesday morning, and started the preparations to demolish another two houses in Mount Scopus.
Abu Ghazaleh said: "The bulldozers demolished a house in the Sur Baher neighbourhood south of Jerusalem owned by Mujahid Abu Sarhan, which sheltered four individuals. The second house belonged to Mohammed Sandouka in Wadi Al Dam near Beit Hanina and sheltered seven people."
Abu Sarhan recalled how "at 5:30 am the Israeli forces smashed the doors and broke into my house. They beat me and then forced me and my family to leave the house. They threw our furniture into the street and destroyed it, then demolished the entire house. I built my 35 square meter house in 2008 from sheet iron and aluminium. I have already paid 13,000 shekels as a fine to the Jerusalem municipality." Abu Sarhan added that the Israeli authorities demolished his house without any previous notice. "I had been trying to obtain a license for my house from the municipality for years now," he said.
Meanwhile, Alaa Sondoqa recounted how the Israeli authorities forced his family out of their home despite the cold weather, and then threw out their furniture and demolished the house. Sondoqa explained that, "my 65 square meter house was built 17 years ago. My family already paid a building fine worth ten thousand shekels to the municipality."
Jerusalem municipality crews have also evacuated the contents of two other houses, owned by Hussein and Nasser Ramadan Shkirat, in Mount Scopus in order to demolish them. Abu-Ghazaleh pointed out that clashes broke out there between the residents and the Israeli forces, which attacked the women and young men, spraying them with pepper gas. Five people are reported to have been detained.
The families in Mount Scopus had also been trying to obtain building permits for their houses from the Jerusalem municipality for years, but to no avail.