Israeli authorities demolish homes, car repair shops, and businesses in four different East Jerusalem neighborhoods — in a single day.
By Eli Bitan
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, police officers, and municipal inspectors made their way to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Tuesday mornin, to demolish two large apartment buildings, an agricultural business, and a store.
Muhammad Abu Hummus, a resident of Issawiya and a member of the neighborhood’s popular committee, witnessed the demolitions. “Hundreds of soldiers arrived at 4 a.m. and evacuated the building. This is a building that has been standing for 10 years, and over the past few years has been negotiating with the Jerusalem municipality to retroactively legalize it. That didn’t work. At 6 a.m. they began demolition two buildings and a few stores.”
According to Abu Hummus, they left the ruins of the building on the road and around the neighborhood. “When I approached them and asked them to debris, they responded that ‘anyone who builds illegally should worry about cleaning up.’
Israel regularly demolishes homes built in East Jerusalem by Palestinians without a permit, yet approves less than two percent of all requests for building permits.
Israeli security forces carried out simultaneous demolitions in three other Palestinian neighborhoods. According to Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, the authorities demolished a home in Silwan, which housed eight people, including six minors. In Beit Hanina, they demolished a car sale lot, and in Jabal Mukaber security forces demolished a tire repair shop.
According to B’Tselem, Tuesday’s demolitions are part of a general incline. Sine the beginning of 2017, 62 homes have been demolished in East Jerusalem, including six homes that were demolished by their owners, so as not to pay fines and the cost of the demolition. Over 115 people, including 46 minors, have been left homeless. Authorities have also demolished over 80 structures, including fences, storerooms, agricultural structures, businesses, a mosque, and more.
Eli Bitan is a journalist in the ultra-Orthodox press in Israel and a blogger on Local Call, where this post was first published in Hebrew. Read it here.