Palestinian family in East Jerusalem forced by Israel to knock down own home
A Palestinian family was forced by Israel to knock down their own home in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Israel said the house in the Silwan neighbourhood, many residents of which are threatened with expulsion, did not have a construction permit, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Israeli municipal authorities would have made the Abu Ramooz family pay a steep charge if workers employed by the municipality tore their home down.
The family removed their belongings from the 18-month-old home on Tuesday before demolishing it on Wednesday, according to a Wafa correspondent.
Homeowner Faraj Abu Ramooz said the Israeli municipality told the family around one-and-a-half months ago it would knock the building down, saying this was because they did not have a permit.
But Israel almost never issues Palestinians building permits in East Jerusalem, where it seeks to expel Palestinian families from areas including Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah as it continues to turn over property to Israeli settlers there.
Palestinians consider this an effort to rid Jerusalem of its Palestinian character and replace it with an Israeli one.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and later annexed it in violation of international law.
Faraj said his family paid 50,000 Israeli shekels ($15,300) in fines and around 70,000 shekels ($21,400) for legal representation, though they were unable to save their home.
The demolition meant Faraj, his wife and their baby and seven other children have no roof over their heads.
Their current living arrangements are unknown.