A Palestinian family of 13 was displaced after they were forced to demolish their own home in the Bir Ayoub area of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, in compliance with orders from Israel's Jerusalem municipality.
Hajj Salih Shweiki told Ma'an that his family chose to carry out the demolition themselves to avoid the huge fees imposed when municipality crews perform demolitions.
The municipality would have charged 80,000 shekels (approximately $21,600) for the demolition, according to Shweiki.
Members of the family started to demolish the interior of the house on Saturday using sledge hammers and other small tools. The house was built of bricks and corrugated metal sheets.
"I had to choose between two very difficult options: either to demolish myself the home where our children and grandchildren have been brought up for ten years, or to allow the occupation's bulldozers to demolish the house and all of our belongings without providing us prior warning and forcing us to pay 80,000 shekels," Shweiki said.
He said the demolition had been postponed several times over the past few years, and that a final demolition order was issued recently.
Commenting on an unprecedented surge of Israeli-enforced demolitions of Palestinian structures across the occupied territory and inside Israel itself, Shweiki said that "Israeli occupation authorities have been targeting Silwan in particular, turning a deaf ear to all international laws," he said.
Where in the world is there a law that displaces a citizen from his own house? Or coerces a citizen to demolish his house with his own hands?
Fakhri Abu Diab, a spokesman for a local committee aiming to defend Palestinian properties in Silwan, told Ma'an that "Israeli occupation institutions have launched an unprecedented attack against Silwan in the form of land confiscations, demolitions, and other methods, in order to apply pressure on its indigenous residents to coerce them to leave their town that abuts the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque, to pave the way for settlers to replace them."