The Shqeirat families were forced to demolish their own homes on Monday after an Israeli court decision a day earlier [Al Jazeera]
Israeli occupation authorities on forced two Palestinian families in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal al-Mukabber to demolish their own homes, rendering 13 people, including five children, homeless.
Palestinian news agency WAFA said Daoud and Mahmoud Shuqeirat tore down their houses, constructed in 2012 and each of which occupied 80 square meters, after removing their belongings purportedly for being built without a license.
The Shuqeirat brothers have paid a building fine amounting to NIS100,000 (some $31,000) over the past years, but were eventually forced to carry out the demolition, resulting in the displacement of their families, including eight children.
The Shuqeirat brothers said that the occupation municipality did not grant them a building permit while they filed a petition against the demolition in the Israeli courts, which finally passed a ruling in favor of the forced demolition.
Under the court ruling, the brothers either had to self-demolish the structures or pay exorbitant fines if the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem does it on its own.
Israel has tore down 317 Palestinian houses across the occupied city of Jerusalem since the start of 2021.
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.