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Israel prepares to demolish residential building in Silwan

June 9, 2022 at 10:45 am

An Israeli excavator demolishes 2-storey building, belonging to Palestinian al-Rajbi family, claiming that they are “unlicensed” in Silwan Neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, Jerusalem on May 10, 2022. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Staff from the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem on Wednesday took measurements of a four-storey residential building in occupied Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Silwan, Wafa News Agency reported.

The residents of the building received a notice from the occupation municipality a week ago, ordering them to evacuate the building in preparation for demolition under the pretext of lacking a building license.

The four-storey building comprises 12 apartments, housing 12 families, including children. If the demolition proceeds, 32 adults and 42 children will be forcibly evicted.

Two households in the building are Palestinian refugees, and another two would be displaced for the second time in two years following previous demolitions.

READ: Israel demolishes Palestine village of Al-Araqeeb for 202nd time

A lack of Israeli building permits is the premise for most demolitions in occupied Palestinian territories, which, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), are impossible for Palestinians to obtain.

Eyad Abu Sbaih, who resides in an apartment in the targeted building, said they are gravely concerned and are living in fear that the municipality will demolish the building at any moment.

Eyad shared that since 2014, the families living in the building have been trying to obtain a building permit, but the occupation municipality has refused to grant them permits and, over the years, has imposed fines amounting to NIS900,000 ($280,000).

“The continued practice of demolitions and evictions in occupied East Jerusalem is in violation of international humanitarian law and must cease,” affirmed Deputy European Union (EU) Representative Maria Velasco during a visit to Silwan.

Velasco, who visited Silwan with heads of mission and representatives from the EU and like-minded countries, also urged: “Israel as the occupying power has the obligation to protect the population.”