A Palestinian family from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Al-Mukabbir was forced to demolish two of their own apartments yesterday in accordance with an Israeli court order.
Israel’s central Jerusalem district court in August ordered the family of Muhammad Khalil Abd Al-Latif Jaabis demolish the two apartments, which the court said were constructed without the proper permits.
According to Jaabis, the Jerusalem municipality threatened the family, saying that if they didn’t destroy the apartments themselves, the municipality would send demolition crews and then impose a demolition fee – a customary practice for Israeli authorities regarding home demolitions in the Jerusalem district.
Jaabis told Ma’an that his family had rented a bulldozer and began demolishing the two apartments – one belonging to him and one to his father and brother – which were built more than 10 years ago.
He added that 12 individuals, including six children, lived in the two apartments, and that the families had been attempting to get permits for the homes for years, paying nearly 50,000 shekels ($13,035) in fines in the process.
Demolitions in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have seen an unprecedented surge this year, with the number of structures demolished in the first half of 2016 already well exceeding the total number of demolitions carried out in all of 2015.
More than 1,383 Palestinians have been displaced since the beginning of 2016 as a result of demolitions in the occupied territory, compared to 688 Palestinians displaced over the entirety of 2015, according to UN documentation.