Three Palestinian families forced to demolish own homes in Jerusalem

Three Palestinian families forced to demolish own homes in Jerusalem
Around twenty people were left homeless after being ordered to destroy their own homes by Israeli occupation authorities.
2 min read
12 December, 2021
Israeli authorities regularly demolish houses belonging to Palestinians on the ground that the houses are 'unlicensed' [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty]

Three Palestinian families were forced to demolish their own homes on Saturday in Silwan, a neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem, Palestinian media reported.

Videos of the demolition were shared on social media. The Israeli-controlled municipality of Jerusalem ordered the destruction of the three apartments under the pretext that they were built without a permit, like many Palestinian homes in the city. The three apartments were home to around twenty people.

The Nassar family decided to carry out the demolition themselves to avoid paying fines and prohibitive demolition fees set by the municipality.

Dozens of families have suffered the same fate in Silwan this year, and eighty more are at risk - Israeli occupation authorities have ordered the demolition of their homes to make way for the extension of a national park. 

Human rights organisations have released numerous reports over the years demonstrating that Israeli authorities seldom issue building permits to Palestinian residents, despite the extremely overcrowded living conditions in occupied areas.

Many Palestinian families take the risk to build without permits, knowing their houses could be demolished in the future. 

According to the United Nations, one-third of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem do not have a building permit. Over 100,000 people living in these buildings are at risk of displacement.

The demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied areas violates the Fourth Geneva convention, which states that the occupying power should refrain from demolishing anything except for absolutely necessary military purposes.

Meanwhile, illegal Israeli settlements are encouraged by Israeli authorities through a system of economic incentives. More than 200,000 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem and nearly 500,000 live in settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank.