Palestinian Family Welcomes New Year without Home as Israel Orders Self-Demolition in Jerusalem

Palestinian Family Welcomes New Year without Home as Israel Orders Self-Demolition in Jerusalem

Palestinian man walking with his two children after Israel demolished their house. (File photo)

For five consecutive days, the Palestinian Dabash family proceeded with demolishing their home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher under pressure from the Israeli occupation municipality.

Palestinian news agency WAFA said that the Dabash family completed the demolition of the house they have been living in for about six years, purportedly for being built without a license, to avoid paying up to 25,000 shekels (approx. USD $8,000) in exorbitant fines if the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem carries out the demolition on its own.

The family spent about five days in the demolition process using hand tools. They received a demolition notice about 20 days ago and had already paid building fines to the occupation municipality, totaling NIS25,000.

The house owner, Ali Dabash, said that although the family paid the fine, Israeli police came to the house about 20 days ago, and handed them the demolition order.

"We have been attempting to obtain a license over the past six years, but all our efforts failed,” Dabash said. “Obtaining a building license in Jerusalem is impossible. While the world was celebrating New Year's Day, we welcomed our new year without a home.”

Using the pretext of illegal building, Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

At the same time, the municipality and government build tens of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem for Jews with a goal to offset the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish settlers in the occupied city.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as "residents" whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel's separation wall.

According to a report by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Israeli High Court could be liable for war crimes for their policies that led to the dispossession of Palestinians from their properties in Area C of the West Bank.

The report, Fake Justice, shows that the court’s support of Israeli planning policy is tantamount to support for dispossession and forcible transfer of Palestinians, a war crime under international law.

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