Israeli court forces Palestinian in Jerusalem to demolish his own apartment
The Israeli Jerusalem municipality forced a Palestinian man to demolish his own property in Isawiyah, north of Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Farouq Mostafa, a father of four, was forced to demolish an apartment he had built on the top of his house after the Israeli Jerusalem central court gave a final ruling in favour of the Israeli municipality's order of demolition.
"This apartment cost me more than 650,000 shekels (US$196,000) and I built it for my oldest son, Mohammad, who is 22 now and will soon get married," Farouq Mostafa told The New Arab.
lsraeli authorities force a Palestinian man to self-demolish his house in Isawiya, occupied Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/H2NNB5HPBm— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) August 16, 2022
"I filed the petition for a building permit but it was rejected," said Mostafa. "I had begun to build, so I continued to build and paid all the fees I was charged with, which amounted to some 100,000 shekels (US$30.000), plus a similar amount for lawyers' services," detailed Mostafa.
"In 2020, the Israeli court ordered the demolition of the apartment, so I appealed in the central Israeli court, and the appeal was also rejected," he added.
"In May, the same day Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, the Israeli municipality sent their bulldozers and began to demolish the outside wall, but I brought proof that I had paid the fees to suspend demolition while the case was open in court, and the demolition stopped," noted Mostafa.
Demolitions in Jerusalem area, July 2022: Israeli authorities demolish 10 structures; 18 people, including 10 minors, lose homes. Parts of three additional homes were demolished by their owners and one by the authorities. > pic.twitter.com/zh6YKXmRhh— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) August 16, 2022
"This time I received a final order, and if I didn't demolish it myself, I would have had to pay even a larger fee and get it demolished by the Israeli municipality," he added.
Palestinians in east Jerusalem are rarely granted building permits, and generally had to pay large amounts of fees for building in the city. In recent years, however, Israeli authorities have ramped-up demolitions against Palestinian property.
According to the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian affairs - OCHA, Israeli authorities demolished 168 Palestinian structures in east Jerusalem in 2021, and have demolished already 80 Palestinian structures in the city in the first eight months of 2022.
Israeli occupation forces raid Shu’afat camp in Jerusalem and demolish three Palestinian-owned houses. pic.twitter.com/m2yvJViVF4— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) August 10, 2022
Of the 80 demolitions documented by OCHA in 2022, 75 happened for lack of building permit. In total, Israeli demolitions of Palestinian property in east Jerusalem since 2021, have displaced some 553 Palestinians, including 280 children.
"Palestinians are afraid to build in Jerusalem today," noted Farouq Mostafa. "The message we are given is that we should go elsewhere, that it is too costly to live in Jerusalem, that we should leave."