JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Demolitions continued in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem as Israeli forces demolished a three-story building Wednesday morning, allegedly being built without a license from the Israeli municipal council.
Witnesses told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli military vehicles entered the Wadi Qaddum area in Ras al-Amoud escorting three excavators which tore down the building.The demolition comes one day after municipal inspectors ordered and carried out the destruction of three stores Ein al-Luzah area of Silwan without prior notice.
Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem witness to increasing presence of Israeli settlers at the cost of ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of Palestinian families.
In effort to gain and maintain a Jewish majority in the city, government policies make it near impossible for Palestinian residents to obtain building permits, while Jewish residents frequently take over Palestinian buildings with the protection of Israeli security, according to the Israeli rights organization the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Owner of Wednesday’s demolished building Ahmad Fahmi Abu Sneina told Ma’an he tried his best to obtain a construction license, but to no avail, despite costly measures.
Abu Sneina said he started the construction process about a year ago. “The occupation municipality has issued a demolition order and over the last months I have managed to postpone and prevent the demolition several times,” Abu Sneina told Ma’an.
Abu Sneina’s lawyer managed to obtain a court decision to stop the demolition while the excavators were demolishing the building, however the municipality immediately appealed the decision and the judge allowed them to resume the demolition.
The building was comprised of eight apartments across three floors, measuring 650 square meters each, with the lower floor including commercial stores. The building was constructed and a portion of the apartments and shops were ready for use at the time of demolition.
Earlier this week, municipal inspectors delivered also demolition warrants to four Silwan residents, and were also reported to have taken photos of buildings in the al-Bustan, Euin al-Luzah and Beer Ayyub areas of Silwan.