A Palestinian boy plays at a house that witnesses said was destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in the east of Gaza City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three illegally constructed Palestinian structures were demolished by government bulldozers in the Arab village of El-Jib, located northwest of Jerusalem, during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
According to multiple Palestinian news reports, at approximately 6:30 a.m. Border Police, accompanied by bulldozers, leveled a blacksmith shop and two garages owned by several Arab families.
The owners of the structures were warned of the demolition on Tuesday, the Palestinian News Network reported.
The demolitions come less than 10 days after three illegally built family homes were leveled in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, adjacent to the Old City.
Meretz city councilman Dr.
Meir Margalit, who holds the east Jerusalem portfolio in the Jerusalem Municipality, described the ongoing demolitions on Wednesday as collective punishment, akin to a death sentence.
“In principle I am against any demolition, especially of homes,” he said. “It’s like the death penalty for entire families, and it is something that a democratic country should not do.”
While Margalit conceded that he is against illegal construction, he emphasized that Arabs generally build such structures out of desperation due to an inability to procure a building license from the government.
“I agree they shouldn’t have built without a permit, but we should look at the reasons families build without permits and the obstacles the state puts up to get a license,” he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has repeatedly stated that the standard for obtaining building permits is uniform throughout the capital, and that illegally built Jewish structures in western Jerusalem are also routinely demolished.