+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Palestinian family in Lydd faces home demolition

The Naqib family has been living on their land since before 1948. That, however, didn’t stop the municipality from serving them with an arbitrary demolition order. 

After a relative period of calm in which the local authorities have refrained from demolishing homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Lydd (“Lod” in Hebrew, “Lydda” in English) Municipality has returned to threatening residents with demolition. The war in Gaza has ended, and now the authorities have returned to their day-to-day war against Arab citizens.

The aftermath of a home demolition in Lod, Israel, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The aftermath of a home demolition in Lydd, Israel, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The home belongs to the Naqib family and was built on land that they own, according to the state land registry. The demolition order, which stated that the house was built illegally, was served back in November. The city announced it would carry out the demolition on Sunday, when police arrived on the scene.

Attorney Qais Nasser submitted an urgent appeal to a district court on behalf of the family, along with a request to delay the demolition. The court rejected the request, but delayed the demolition until today (Sunday) at 1 p.m., in order to give the family time to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court. UPDATE (2:45 p.m.): The Supreme Court has delayed the demolition until Thursday.

The Naqib family lives on land near the Ganei Aviv neighborhood, which was expropriated from Palestinian families in a procedure whose legality has been in doubt ever since. The family has lived on the land since before 1948, and the local urban building plan gave a green light for building the new neighborhood years ago. The city, however, has yet to approve a master plan, and even destroyed a house in the 1990s.

According to a map of the urban building plan, one can see that the house was built on land slated for residential construction. Thus, the city’s decision regarding “illegal construction” seems especially arbitrary:

The Lod master plan. (photo: Said Abu Hamed)

The Lyd master plan. (photo: Said Abu Hamed)

Should the Supreme Court reject the request to delay the order, the city will be able to demolish the house at any moment. According to a member of the Naqib family, the order is part of a general trend of political harassment. “The city claims that the house is in the way of the road,” he told +972. “But according to the urban building plan, one can see clearly the house was built on land that was previously approved. How can you view the city’s decision as anything but political harassment?”

Local activists have already met to discuss further actions to prevent the threatened demolition, including mass demonstrations and establishing a protest tent.

Palestinian family in Lod erects a tent where their home used to be, after it was demolished by Israeli authorities, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian family in Lydd erects a tent where their home used to be, after it was demolished by Israeli authorities, September 2, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

According to activists nearly 80 percent of Palestinians in Lydd live in “illegal conditions” according to the state’s definition, due to the fact that their homes do not have building permits. This situation allows authorities to use the threat of demolition against a large part of the local population, in accordance with the needs of the political establishment.

Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call here.

House demolitions: Zionism’s constant background noise
Punitive home demolitions are racist — and just plain wrong
Rights groups to High Court: Home demolitions are collective punishment

Newsletter banner 6 -540

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Pedro X

      There are a lot of red herrings in this story. What is missing is a building permit. Whether you live in Lodi California or Lod Israel, before one builds an building, one has to obtain a building permit. This is not rocket science beyond the mental capacity of most ordinary people.

      The normal thing which happens when one wants to build on their own property is that they go to the local municipality and talk to the building by-law officer about whether it will be possible to obtain a building permit for the desired building. The municipal official would pull out the plans for the specific area. He or she would look at the building by-laws and plans. He or she would look at the location of water and sewer lines, electrical lines and other utilities and roads and sidewalks. If there appears to be no problem then the owner of the land would submit an application for a building permit.

      Yet some think that the laws of the land do not apply to them and they can build a house in the middle of a road. In Israel not only do Arabs try this but Jewish persons also do with results that the particular municipality begins enforcement action and in serious cases they issue demolition orders. Building a house in the middle of a roadway is such a case.

      Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        “What is missing is a building permit. Whether you live in Lodi California or Lod Israel, before one builds an building, one has to obtain a building permit. This is not rocket science beyond the mental capacity of most ordinary people.”

        In the kafka-esque administration of Israel’s military dictatorship in the West Bank, it is rocket science. Or it seems to be.

        Around 95% of applications are denied.

        Watch this and think about how it applies to the West Bank.


        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          96% of Palestinians in the West Bank live in areas administered by the Palestinian Authority while 100% of those in Gaza live in areas controlled by Hmas. The PA and Hamas are in control of issuing permits to Palestinians. If there is a lack of building permits for Arabs in Palestinian controlled areas it can only be the fault of the Palestinians themselves.

          For those Arabs who live in Area “C” they are subject to the same shelter regulations which Jews in Area “C” have to live with. If you have read the Levy report you would know what I am talking about.

          Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Just got around to watching this. Very amusing! Apropos, Felix. Apropos. Ten minutes of my life well spent!

          Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        I’m only now realizing that it’s about Arab citizens of Israel. Which doesn’t make the situation any better.

        A building permit can only be issued if there is a plan for that area by the national authority.

        Now the national authority purposefully excludes Arab-majority neighborhoods and areas from planning, thus making it impossible for people living (and owning land) there to even apply for a building permit.

        This of course also makes statistics useless, since most Arab citizens can’t even apply, thus their application cannot be rejected.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Camera has shown in a study of accepted building application permits in Jerusalem, that the rate of approval of applications for Jews and Arabs is very similar. Some years a greater percentage of Arab majority areas building applications are granted than in Jewish majority areas.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gearoid

            CAMERA is a well known hate group, not a reliable source. They will spread any lie if it will help further right wing interests and anti-Arab sentiment.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Justin Weiner’s comprehensive study called “Illegal Construction in Jerusalem, A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon” also documented that percentage rates of successful building permit applications granted to Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem were similar. He also noted that the municipality of Jerusalem had set over 36,000 building permits for the Arab sector, enough to last them to 2020.

            What was different was the massive illegal building in the Arab Sector without building permits and the relatively few demolitions which made illegal construction more profitable then complying with building laws and paying the building permit and sewer and water hookup fees.

            His book showed building code violations, criminal Palestinians building on other owners’ and public lands. For instance he shows a picture of a Palestinian home built on top of a basket ball court of a school.

            Weiner also showed that demolition of illegal structures was more prevalent in West Jerusalem than East Jerusalem in most years.

            He also showed that the Jerusalem municipality translated plans into Arabic so Arab speaking residents could consult and ask questions about the plans.

            Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Only Pedro X could claim with a straight face that this is simply about a missing building permit for which the property owners inexplicably forgot to apply, and not about systematic discrimination against Arab Israelis in regards to land use, zoning and permitting. You can’t embarrass an Israeli like Pedro X.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      The building permits are controlled by you-know-who. The Israelis have mastered time travel by turning Palestinian society into Alabama circa 1900.

      On another note, buses carrying ads designed by Ads Against Apartheid are now criss-crossing Los Angeles.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Where are your statistics Bruce? Show us the Lod statistics for permits applied for and denied to Arabs and for and denied for Jews.

        Camera a few years ago did a study that refuted the all too often claim that Arabs in Jerusalem are not granted building permits. Camera discovered that in 2010

        “In 2010 , 80% of building permit requests for Arab-majority neighborhoods in Jerusalem were approved vs. 89% in Jewish-majority neighborhoods.”

        For 2009″

        “the percentage of fulfilled requests in east Jerusalem in 2009 was 55% in east Jerusalem vs. 63% in west Jerusalem.”

        In 2008:

        “46% of building permits requested were granted in east Jerusalem vs. 47% of permit requests granted in west Jerusalem.”

        Justus Weiner in his 2003 report on illegal construction in Jerusalem noted that the City of Jerusalem had okay the issuance of 36,000 building permits for East Jerusalem, enough to meet its needs to 2010. Yet Arabs continue to build illegally without permits.

        Reply to Comment
        • Felix Reichert

          This article isn’t about Jerusalem.

          Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Let Bruce prove what he says. Let him produce the stats for Lod. Lod is a mixed Arab Israeli – Jewish Israeli City so Bruce should be able to show stats from the City of Lod supporting his allegations.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Nicci

      Like Pedro X stated, no permit, your house will be demolished no matter where you live it’s as simple as that. If life is so crappy for Arabs in Area C why do nearly 80% want to be part citizens of Israel instead of being part of a Palestinian state?

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Like I said, you can’t embarrass an Israeli like Pedro X; or Nicci.

        Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          I don’t think Pedro is an Israeli, it seems he’s a Canadian member of Hasbara International.
          Concerning Lydd, it’s probably the worst place to be an Arab citizen of the ‘State of the Jews’, there’s a huge separation wall between an Arab neighbourhood and a nearby moshav (built on Arab ‘expropriated’ land, of course…), the rap group DAM is from Lydd – where the biggest massacre during the Nakba took place too -, and in this interview on CNN, they speak about the house demolitions, the lack of permits etc (from min 2:00). Let’s just suppose they know better than Pedro ….

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Very interesting and illuminating, Biladi! Thank you for pointing us to them. Because there is nothing like authenticity.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Richard

      Oh, is it called Lydd? NOT Lod, which is HEBREW, and NOT Lydda, which is English? That must mean Lydd is ARABIC. Wow Rami you are a rebel, calling an Israeli city by an Arab name and shoving it RIGHT IN OUR FACES. Rock star. Freaking courage right there.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Yeah, he’s not a real man like you Richard, who likes this kind of courage, explained by Tal Niv in Haaretz:

        “…What do you call a soldier who, from a range of 80 meters, shoots at two youngsters – not yet 18 – who are passing by? What do you call the soldier who took aim and fired? And what do you call the public from which that soldier came, a soldier who shoots people as though death were a knock-down target in a shooting gallery at a country fair? Who shoots people from such a long distance, nameless beneath his helmet, shooting at people with names who fall to the ground? They won’t be going to school anymore. Their mothers will never talk to them again. Their fathers will say nothing to them anymore.

        What do you call a soldier who shoots two teenagers who are passing by, dozens of meters from him, schoolbags in tow? Is he supposed to shoot, even if their heads are covered with the colors of Palestine? Even if they support the army’s expulsion from the territories? What do you call that soldier?

        You call him a coward.

        And the Israeli public – the same public from which people stand up to defend “David the Nahalawi,” the Israeli soldier who in April threatened to kill a Palestinian youth in Hebron and aimed his rifle into the youth’s face; the same public that watches a soldier named Effi promising Issa Amro in Hebron last month, “The first chance I get, I will shoot you,” this after a settler invaded Amro’s home and he asked for her to be removed – what is the right word for the Israeli public? The public who will not watch the video shot by Bilal Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, which documents Israel Defense Forces soldiers implementing the “mapping” procedure by waking up his children at night in order to photograph them, and to compare those images with film the army took during demonstrations? What do you call that public?

        What do you call a public that wants to hear from the defense minister that maybe it’s not true, that what they saw on the video shot in Beitunia on May 15 – when the two teenagers died during Nakba Day protests – never happened? That those who died did not really die. Or maybe they did die, but not in connection with us, that maybe it’s a show.

        What do you call a public that is unwilling to understand that what is shown in the film – shot by a security camera that offers no security – is murder?….”

        Reply to Comment
      • You’re freaking out because he chose to call the city by its arabic name? What are you going to do when the settlements are dismantled?

        Reply to Comment
    5. Sluggo

      Look, there’s a Lydd for every pot.

      I wish I had thought of that one earlier.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Click here to load previous comments