Israeli occupation bulldozers yesterday destroyed a three-storey Palestinian apartment block in the East Jerusalem village of Al-Issawiya displacing 17 Palestinians.
Israeli police protected the municipality team which demolished the house of the Palestinian citizen Jamal Eliyan after pulling off the main doors, raiding the building and forcing the residents out without allowing them to take their belongings.
Eliyan said that the Israeli municipality workers stormed the building without giving prior notice. Occupation forces however claimed they had sent the notices a couple of days earlier.
The building owner said he had been working to get the necessary licences for the apartment block for three years, adding that Israeli authorities recently fined him an estimated 250,000 shekels ($69,354).
His lawyer, Eliyan added, went to court to seek the postponement of the demolition however staff who were overseeing the demolition claimed it was dangerous to stop the destruction.
Eliyan said that he built the 200 square metre house five years ago. He said that the ground store consisted of commercial shops and the first and second floors consisted of residential apartments that were home to 17 people.
Midhat Tabbakhi, a shop owner in the building, said occupation forces did not allow them to take their belongings out of the shops and this caused them losses by tens of thousands of shekels.
Mohammed Abul-Hommos, member of the Follow-up Committee in the village, said that the Israeli occupation demolishes the houses and shops under the pretext of lack of licences while it has been refusing to approve development plans in the area for 20 years.