Israeli authorities forced Mahmoud Aramin to demolish his house in East Jerusalem Sunday, or risk having it destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer, which would have resulted in an exorbitant fine.Aramin had already paid thousands of dollars in fines to the Jerusalem municipality in monthly installments, for having built an ‘unlicensed’ house in East Jerusalem. Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem have not been granted building permits since 1967, and face frequent demolitions of their homes by Israeli authorities.

The forced demolition comes just days after the Israeli authorities authorized the construction of a 50-unit Jewish settlement in the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood of East Jerusalem, not far from the home of Mahmoud Aramin.

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, “Since 1967, around 2,000 homes have been demolished in East Jerusalem. According to official statistics, from 2000 – 2008 the Israeli authorities demolished more than 670 East Jerusalem homes. The number of outstanding demolition orders is estimated at up to 20,000.”

The Committee also stated that even though Palestinians represent about 30% of Jerusalem’s population they are currently confined to reside in just 7% of the city’s area, in mostly inadequate housing. The master plan for Jerusalem follows the Israeli Government and Jerusalem Municipality policy of demographic and ethnic control, aimed at preserving demographics in the city at 70% Jewish to 30% Arab. This policy is clearly stated on the Jerusalem Municipality’s website.