JERUSALEM, February 10, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday morning demolished a house of a Palestinian family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan to the south of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, displacing the family consisting of 14 members.
Large Israeli troops, accompanied by four bulldozers, stormed the Silwan neighborhood of Swaih, where they cordoned off a house belonging to al-Abbasi family and proceeded to demolish it purportedly for being built without a construction permit.
Ahmad al-Abbasi, who owns the house, told WAFA his family’s house was demolished ‘without any prior notice. The house was constructed a year ago over an approximately 200 meter square area and cost al-Abbasi over NIS 700,000 (about $180,000).
Al-Abbasi said though his family has been living in the house since the construction was completed, he continuously tried to obtain a construction permit from the West Jerusalem Municipality, but to no avail.
Israeli troops cordoned off the demolition scene in order to prevent the house owners and reporters from confronting or reporting the demolition process.
Despite filing applications and constantly trying to build houses following the legal ways, Palestinians in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem, are rarely granted construction permits by Israeli occupation authorities.
Israel frequently utilizes the lack of construction permits as a pretext for demolishing Palestinian houses.
Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem are living in a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied citizenship and classified only as ‘residents’ whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city.
They are also discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and remain unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel’s separation wall.
In 2014 alone, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 97 buildings in East Jerusalem, while demolished five others in 2015, under the pretext of building without a construction permit, reported the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian (OCHA).