A Palestinian father stands with his children in front of the ruins of their home in Silwan, East Jerusalem, after it was demolished by Israeli authorities, November 8, 2019 (Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org).
Two Palestinian brothers from the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan were forced by Israeli municipality to demolish their own home, reported Palestinian news agency Wafa.
The brothers embarked on the demolition process after being pressured to do so by Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem, in order to avoid paying exorbitant costs if the municipality carries out the demolition.
Feras and Iyad Da’na said they were forced to demolish their own home, currently under construction, after the Israeli municipality issued a demolition order against it under the pretext it is being built without a permit.
The two brothers said unless they did so, they would have been forced to pay around $15,000 to the Israeli municipality if it carried out the demolition on its own.
They pointed out that they tried hard many times to get a building permit to build on their own land, but all in vain.
For many years, Palestinians in Jerusalem are forced to build without a permit because getting a building permit is impossible as the Israeli municipality aims at keeping the city’s Palestinian population at a bare minimum while multiplying its illegal Jewish residents by approving the construction of thousands of new housing units in Jewish settlements.
According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, the Israeli municipality consistently avoids drawing up detailed urban building plans – a prerequisite for receiving building permits – for Palestinian neighborhoods. As a result, Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem suffer an extreme shortage of housing, public buildings, infrastructure, trade services and recreational facilities.
It says, given this reality, Palestinians in the occupied city have no choice but to build without permits.