On Wednesday, the Israeli police demolished the Hamdan family home in Anata, a Palestinian neighborhood in the city of Jerusalem.
ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an Israeli human rights group, had recently finished rebuilding the family's home in July 2007 after it was first demolished in December 2005.
The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem says that the house was built without permits. According to ICAHD, 90% of Israeli home demolitions of Palestinian homes are 'administrative' demolitions, using as a reason the fact that the house has no permit. The municipality of Jerusalem, controlled by the Israeli state since Israel occupied the city in 1967, rarely gives building permits to the Palestinians of Jerusalem, while at the same time, the municipality gives hundreds of legal documents each year to Israeli Jewish settlers to build settlements in the city on land stolen from indigenous Palestinian owners.
Prof. Jeff Halper, founder and co-coordinator of ICAHD arrived at the scene and tried to prevent the police from leveling the house; officers arrested him and released him several hours later after the house was destroyed.
The Israeli government in 2006 announced a plan that it aims to make the city of Jerusalem 90% Jewish and 10% Palestinian by the year 2010.
Prof. Halper told IMEMC that the Israeli court issued the new demolition order against the Hamdan family on Feb.28, 2008, and it is only effective for 30 days. But the demolition took place on April 2nd, after the 30 days were up, which means the state should have had a new order, which the authorities did not have. For that reason, Halper said, the demolition was illegal under Israeli law (not to mention international humanitarian law and conventions).
Halper added that the Hamdan Family is now in the process of going to court in order to demand compensation.
Jeff Halper was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace and social justice organization, along with Ghassan Andoni, former director and co-founder of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People (PCR), for the work they do for peace.