JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian family was forced to demolish their two homes, which have been built since 20 years ago, in the Silwan town in occupied East Jerusalem, on Saturday.
The two brothers, Jawhar and Murad Hashimeh, had began to empty their homes, in the Wadi Qaddum neighborhood of the town, days ago in preparation to carry out the demolition.
The brothers demolished their homes early Saturday morning as the Israeli municipality had given them until the 10th of December to carry out the demolition or they would be forced to pay the costs of demolition to the municipality’s bulldozers and escorting staff.
The 14-member Hashimeh family has become homeless after the demolition.
The family had attempted to issue licenses for their homes for the past twenty years.
Jawhar told Ma’an that the family had paid a total of 61,000 ILS of fines as they attempted to issue licenses, however, the municipality always rejected their applications before ordering the demolition of the homes last June.
Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis.
Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities, which also see high approval ratings.
For Jewish Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
According to Daniel Seidemann of the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, “since 1967, the Government of Israel has directly engaged in the construction of 55,000 units for Israelis in East Jerusalem; in contrast, fewer than 600 units have been built for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the last of which were built 40 years ago. So much for (Jerusalem Mayor Nir) Barkat’s claim ‘we build for everyone.'”