Illegally-constructed Palestinian homes demolished in east Jerusalem

Jabel Mukaber and Shuafat residences were built without permits from municipality.

A protester holds a Palestinian flag in front of an IDF bulldozer in the West Bank [File] (photo credit: REUTERS)
A protester holds a Palestinian flag in front of an IDF bulldozer in the West Bank [File]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli government bulldozers razed two illegally-constructed Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber and Shuafat neighborhoods early Wednesday morning.
According to Palestinian media, the home in Jabel Mukaber, belonging to Ibrahim Ali Surri, was still under construction and built without a permit from the Jerusalem Municipality.
Ali Surri told the Palestinian news organization Ma’an on Wednesday that the unit measured 60 square meters, and that he had planned to move into it with his family in the coming weeks.
“He said that Jerusalem’s municipal authorities ordered him to halt construction a month ago, and he had been trying to obtain the necessary permits since then,” Ma’an reported. “He said Wednesday’s demolition took place ‘without prior notice.’”
The home in Shuafat was demolished because it was built illegally over an area designated for Route 21, a major thoroughfare which will run through the neighborhood to connect Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Shlom and Neve Yaakov.
The home’s owner, Kifaya al-Rashq, told Ma’an that the residence was built 15 years ago and housed 19 family members.
“He said that Israeli forces stormed the home and forced his family to evacuate, despite the cold weather, before they proceeded with the demolition,” Ma’an reported.
No incidents of violence were reported at either location.
Roughly 580 illegally-constructed homes have been destroyed in east Jerusalem over the last 12 years, leaving 2,133 Palestinians homeless, according to the left-wing Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
“Israel is still going strong with demolition policy, destroying homes under different pretexts, which include security reasons, a lack of building licenses, being built near the settlements or across the settlement roads, being built on state lands, or being built on green areas,” Days of Palestine said in a statement.
While numerous critics, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, contend that the Jerusalem Municipality makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to procure legal building permits, Mayor Nir Barkat has repeatedly claimed that the same restrictions apply to Jews.
Barkat has said that the city’s demolition policy is indiscriminate, noting that illegally-built structures owned by Jewish residents in the western portion of the capital are also razed.