JERUSALEM, February 11, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Wednesday demolished and seized the equipment of a stone-cutting workshop in the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tour, according to its owner.
The owner, Nidal Abu Sebtian, told WAFA that he has been working in the workshop for over five years and the workshop provided six families with their daily income.
Abu Sebtian said he had received a notification from the authorities that his workshop, his only source of livelihood, had to be demolished for unpermitted construction.
He said the authorities also seized the equipment of his workshop, estimated at 500,000 Israeli shekels (about $130,000).
Unpermitted construction for Palestinians has become a necessity to be able to live a normal life. Israel rarely grants construction permits to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and in Area C, which forms up to %60 of the West Bank, and regularly demolishes structures built without permits.
Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has annexed illegally, they are denied 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.
Since 1967 Israel has demolished more than 28,000 Palestinian homes, businesses, livestock facilities and other structures vital to Palestinian life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, according to statistics obtained by the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
“The motivation for demolishing these homes is purely political, and racially informed: to either drive the Palestinians out of the country altogether (the “quiet transfer”) or to confine the four million residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to small, crowded, impoverished and disconnected enclaves,” says ICAHD.
“House demolitions and forced evictions are among Israel’s most heinous practices in the OPT – though, again, they continue to be practiced on a broad scale within Israel as well.”