Home Occupation 06/September/2022 04:56 PM

East Jerusalem residents protest municipality’s evasion of liability for damage to houses

JERUSALEM, Tuesday, September 06, 2022 (WAFA) – Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem's Nashashibi neighborhood today protested over the evasion by the Israeli municipality of liability for damage to their houses.

Residents of the neighborhood, also known as the Nurses Neighborhood, close to Bab al-Silsila in the Old City, demanded that the Israeli municipality repair the structural damage to their houses due to Israeli digging and archaeological excavations in the area.

They staged the protest after the municipality filed a lawsuit against them, demanding that they repair the damage at their own expense or abandon their houses.

26 families were forced to relocate to other places due to Israeli excavations running beneath and causing cracks to their houses and affecting their foundations, particularly after the municipality shirked its responsibility to pay for the restoration works required.

“We have been living in the Nurses (Narsat) Neighborhood since 1973. The excavations carried out by the municipality have resulted in cracks and collapses in the houses of the neighborhood. Three years ago, the municipality emplaced iron beams to buttress the concrete girders or walls of the dig, but did nothing to prevent the collapse of the houses,” Umm Nidal Salaymeh, who refused to leave her house despite being concerned about possible collapses, said.

“The municipality has filed a lawsuit against the residents of the neighborhood to force them to restore their houses at their own expense. A court hearing is scheduled on November 16. We do not have the financial means to repair the damage. My husband is 80 years old and suffers from heart problems, while I am 73 years old. We do not have any income,” she added.

Head of the committee representing the residents, Sameh Abu Asab, said that 18 residents are elderly or suffer from some forms of disability, while the others are living on low income.

He pointed that the municipality has started the excavations in the area in 2004, and the tunnels network branches out and extends to the north in the direction of Damascus Gate and to the west in the direction of Jaffa Gate.

The strategically located neighborhood lies opposite to the Wailing/ Al-Buraq Wall and several meters away from Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is flanked by stores. It was previously named after the the Nashashibi family, one of the elite and wealthy families whose influence had increased since the 18th century as a result of taking administrative positions in the Ottoman State regime and being given the right to collect taxes.

Archaeology is but one of the many mechanisms in which Israel maintains domination over the Palestinian people. The use of this biblical narrative is being manipulated as a smokescreen for the Zionist settler-colonial project.

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.


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