Israeli bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian building in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. (WAFA Images / Afif Amireh)
JERUSALEM, Wednesday, January 30, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers Wednesday morning demolished a two-story Palestinian building in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz.
WAFA correspondent said that Israeli military police cordoned off the industrial zone in the neighborhood as bulldozer proceeded to demolish the building purportedly for lacking a rarely-issued Israeli construction permit.
House demolition watchdog Wadi Hilweh Information Center (WHIC) said the demolished building comprised of three apartments, three stores and two attached containers, all belonging to Khaled al-Malhi.
WHIC reported al-Malhi saying that staff of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem stormed the building two days ago, and handed him a notice, allowing him 48 hours to completely demolish it. He consulted his attorney and asked him to appeal the order, but the demolition was carried out before any legal step could be taken.
According to al-Malhi, the first floor of the building, built 20 years ago, consisted of a car wash shop, a car repair shop and stores, while the second floor, built five years ago, consisted of three apartments, including one under construction.
He noted that he was fined the sum of 160,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $43,000).
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.