Zoning map of East Jerusalem

Two Palestinian brothers, along with their wives and children, lost their homes Tuesday when Israeli forces demolished their homes under the pretext of ‘lacking a construction permit’.

Israeli authorities frequently use this pretext for demolishing Palestinian homes, despite the fact that Israel has not issued any construction permits for Palestinian homes since 1967, when it took over control of Jerusalem.

The homes were attached to each other, and the entire building containing the two homes was around 300 square meters.

Initially, Israeli authorities issued a demolition order to Said Abbasi, requiring him to demolish his own home. And even though Abbasi was attempting to carry out that order, and had begun the demolition, Israeli authorities determined that he was not doing it fast enough, and brought in their own demolition crew.

Abbasi will now be charged the extremely high fee of the demolition by Israeli authorities, in addition to having lost his family’s home.

The building was located in the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, an area that has been specifically and repeatedly targeted for demolition orders by Israeli authorities.

In October, a family of 30 people was rendered homeless in Silwan when Israeli authorities destroyed their home. Dozens of homes have been destroyed this year, and in April the Israeli authorities demolished a children’s playground.

The destruction of homes in Silwan has continued unabated since 2010, when the Israeli Jerusalem municipality released its “master plan” for East Jerusalem, which included the expulsion of thousands of Palestinian residents from their homes and the takeover of their land for Jewish-only settlements and Israeli-government owned tourism sites.

According to the United Nations, the destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem accelerated sharply in 2016 – by the start of August 2016, 614 Palestinian structures were demolished in the West Bank and 112 in East Jerusalem. The total for all of 2015 was 447 and 74 in East Jerusalem.