JERUSALEM, Monday, March 15, 2021 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation authorities Sunday late night forced two Palestinians to demolish their structures in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Jabal al-Mukabbir and Silwan, according to local sources.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Ahmad Hijazi was forced to tear down his own house in Ein al-Lawzeh area of the Silwan neighborhood to avoid paying 100,000-150,000 shekels (approx. USD$30,000-45,000) in exorbitant demolition costs to the Israeli municipality if it carries out the demolition.
“I carried out restoration works to the parking lot of my house, turning it to a house. Three years later, the municipality imposed 25,000 shekels in construction fine on me. During this period, I tried to obtain a license, but the municipality eventually issued a demolition order. I tried to appeal the order at the court, but to no avail,” Hijazi said.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Abu Hussein emptied the contents of his restaurant, which has existed for 20 years, in Jabal al-Mukabbir before he embarked on demolishing it to avoid paying similar extortionate costs to the municipality crews if they carry out the demolition.
He said that the Israeli municipality issued the demolition order and imposed a fine on him three years ago, noting that he managed to temporarily freeze the order for several years, but the demolition was eventually demolished.
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.