Two Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem were forced to demolish their own homes yesterday after occupying forces claimed they were built without the nearly impossible to obtain building permits.
The families, who reside in the Sur Bahir neighbourhood, were forced to tear down the houses themselves in order to avoid incurring heavy costs if the military were to do it.
Mahmoud Fawaqa’s family were threatened with a fine of 80,000 shekels ($22,850) if they failed to raze the house within two hours. According to Ma’an, one of Fawaqa’s sons had to be hospitalised for severe fatigue while trying to destroy the house in the allotted time.
Fawaqa said that he had tried to obtain a construction license from the Jerusalem municipality, but that he was denied “under the pretext that the land [on which he built] was designated a green area.”
On Saturday, the Palestinian News Network also reported a family in the Al-Issawiya neighbourhood of Jerusalem was forced to destroy their home, after receiving a demolition order for their house last month.
Israel often refuses to give permits to Palestinians to build in occupied East Jerusalem in an effort to minimise the Palestinian population in the area. Meanwhile the construction of numerous illegal settlements continues, increasing the Jewish population in Israeli-only housing units.
According to the UN, a total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016.